Jonathan Bouknight + bio | statement | press

News: MOCA GA announces trio of artists who received Working Artist Project grants
July 15, 2014
By Catherine Fox

The Working Artist Project (WAP), founded and run by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, is a program developed to serve midcareer or established metro Atlanta artists. It is often at this stage that artists hit Atlanta’s glass ceiling and consider leaving to find a more lucrative or rewarding environment. Now in its seventh year, WAP has given support to 19 artists with a stipend, studio apprentices and the promise of a solo exhibition of the new work creating during the preceding year, accompanied by a catalog.  Read More.


Lost in Translation at the Atlanta Contemporary
February 17, 2014
By Sherri Caudell

During my visit to In Translation: Jonathan Bouknight, Ben Schonberger, and Nathan Sharatt exhibition at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, I found myself asking a number of times: “How do the works in this show fit together?” The conclusion is murky, at best. Curated by ACAC artistic director Stuart Horodner, the concept behind the show is almost impossible to grasp by mere viewing.  The idea that is supposedly being explored is an interesting one, but it seems an after-thought used to package these particular artists together. What the viewer is intended to investigate is the outcome of each artist’s transformation of a “provocative original.” This thought has strength, and it would have been interesting to see it played out in a more cohesive manner. Read More.


Review: Georgia artists, chosen by Georgia artists, display their chops in knockout MOCA GA show
August 14, 2013
By Dinah McClintock

Walking into “Georgia Artists Selecting Georgia Artists” at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia is like being a kid in a candy superstore. The museum is filled, through August 24, with engaging and thought-provoking work by 60 established and emerging Georgia artists. Read More.



Review: Eight artists, in the Contemporary’s “Coloring” and “In Translation,” take a multitude of creative paths
February 3, 2014
By Dinah Mcclintock

Coloring and In Translation, two exhibitions at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center through March 8, playfully and intelligently highlight multiple intersections of concept and praxis in the work of eight local and national artists. Read more.



Out There Atlanta: Interview with Jonathan Bouknight
February 20, 2013
By Lilly Lampe

Episode 62: Lilly Lampe interviews Atlanta artist Jonathan Bouknight.  This year Bouknight ends his tenure at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center Studio Program. Over the five years that he’s been at the Contemporary, his work has evolved from photography into video work, with some painting on the side. Check out the podcast to hear about his practice, and some of his biggest works and exhibitions from the past few years. Topics include: Using friends and family in your work, balancing attention spans and the concept in video art, the Whitney Biennial, Susan Sontag, and Jonathan’s favorite studio visitor ever.

To listen to Lampe’s Conversation with Jonathan Bouknight click here.


Love Like a Devil’s Handshake Delivers Mesmerizing Performances
November 22, 2011
By Rachel P. Kreiter

A devil’s handshake is a move in jiujitsu where an opponent is presented with an amicable gesture that turns deadly. On the night of Saturday, November 12, 2011, the Love Like collective gathered at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center to present Love Like a Devil’s Handshake, an evening of performances by Kirstin Pilar Mitchell, also known as Kiki Blood, and the Back Pockets, as well as installations by Blood, curator Jonathan Bouknight, and Brian Hitselberger. The devil’s handshake theme was chosen because these artists aimed to “alternately seize, seduce, disarm, and disorient [the] viewer, operating under the aesthetic premise of a handshake.” Read More.


The Tennessean
April 2008
By Jonathan Marx

Three male artists explore gender, sexuality

Male identity functions as a recurring theme in the work of Jonathan Bouknight, Adam Davis and John Trobaugh, the three artists featured in Ruby Green’s latest exhibit, The Axe and the Spade. Our own culture tends to define manhood narrowly through a series of clearly established “masculine” traits, and each of these artists seeks to unravel these commonly understood perceptions, many of which revolve around sexuality.

The show’s title refers to a Native American practice in which children are tested to see if they gravitate toward gender-appropriate tools — a bow and arrow for boys, an ax and a spade for girls. When boys are found to prefer the ax and the spade, or girls are drawn to the bow and arrow, they are designated as a unique gender, known as two-spirit or berdache.

Far from being pejorative, these terms suggest a kind of transcendence or special knowledge. For the artists at Ruby Green, though, their inability to conform to gender norms has induced a whole range of feelings and responses, and these are expressed deeply in each man’s work.

Bouknight, for instance, has created a series of photographic prints, drawings and sculptural installations gathered together under the title Integuments. Skin, hair, prostrate bodies and phallic forms figure prominently, but viewed in context, they seek to convey a humanity that goes beyond questions of maleness and femaleness.

Davis’ Yard Sign series, on view at Ruby Green, is a shrewd exploration of attitudes toward same-sex attraction, drawing on the legend of John Henry and the language of personal ads to incite responses from random viewers. Trobaugh’s photographs, some of which capture male dolls in intimate poses, explore the mystique of homosexuality with a mix of humor, forthrightness and eerily quiet contemplation.

The Axe and the Spade runs through May 17 at Ruby Green, 514 Fifth Ave. S. Hours are noon-6 p.m. Saturday or by appointment. For more information, visit or call 244-7179.


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