Jamal Thorne is a Boston based artist who is known for his use of the drawing medium to investigate and visualize the nature of performed identity. With massive drawings, Jamal blends references from popular culture, religious iconography, and symbolism in an attempt to create a possible image of what our multilayered identities could look like as a result of over consumption.
The nature of performed identity becomes increasingly important when the work is used to question the the line that divides the African American male experience and the universal experience. The most important questions that emerge are pertinent to which identity needs to be performed and for whom should it be performed.Constant movement between performed identities also prompts the inevitable question of “Which identity is authentic?” Because making the work generates questions and not answers, the discussion is open and ongoing.
Jamal Thorne received his B.A. in Photographic Media from Morgan State University in 2008. Thorne relocated to Boston where he became the pioneering student in a newly formed cooperative M.F.A. Program between Northeastern University and The School of the Museum of Fine Art. He has exhibited his work at venues that include the James E. Lewis Museum of Art in Baltimore, and the Huret and Specter Gallery in Boston. Jamal Thorne received the Joan Mitchell MFA Grant in 2012. Jamal Thorne currently lives in Boston and serves as a faculty member at Northeastern University while continuing his work as a visual artist.