Jason Byers

Brooklyn, NY, OH

Jason Alexander Byers internalized targets when, as a kid, he willingly became one. As an ice hockey goalie in Pittsburgh, he found himself intercepting missiles for sport. Byers started externalizing targets when he noticed the bull's-eye-like aspect of a screen print he'd made interleaved with the United Nations logo. The targets illustrate Byers long-term intent to use art to defang weaponry: skyscrapers, churches, corporate logos, weapons, flags-each of these things becomes a letter in Byers' alphabet.

Previous art projects include multiples of tanks, bombers and fighter jets crafted with Sensodyne toothpaste, whose soft pinks and greens muted the destructive imagery into farce. Following that was the suet tank, birdseed molded into tank shape-again using ephemeral humor against the harsh lens of ideology.

Byers studied sculpture at Kent State University. Although the University's hockey team took him on, he turned his attention to the absurd, indulgent and wildly inventive arts and music scenes of Kent, Ohio. It was music that took him on tours across Europe and the United States as the vocalist of well-known Cleveland-based band Disengage. Signed to Man's Ruin-the same label turning out The Melvins and Queens of the Stone Age at the time-the music was in line with the heavy, sludgy rock of the early aughts.

After moving to Brooklyn in 2009, Byers has continued working on fine art and music-his new band Black Black Black released their debut album in early 2013. Building on his fascination with cityscapes and skylines, his most recent art project involves tracing the positive and negative space of New York City's churches-using tar, watercolors, and india ink. While not strictly iconoclastic-his fascination with churches and skylines stems in large part from their structural beauty-his most recent psychedelic projects nonetheless call to question an obsessive fascination with the buildings and the ideas inside them. His newest tar and paper series of mirror images conjure up all the implicit menace of a Rorschach inkblot, with pop culture being the prime target.

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