Distance is Not Separation

Sixty Inches From Center

By Brandon Sward / 2.14.17

Distance is Not Separation begins with the artist, Keijaun Thomas, naked. Although at times “clothed” by rope, a garbage bag, and packing tape, these makeshift outfits often accentuate this nakedness rather than covering it. There is not a moment during the performance where we are not forced to deal with the material reality of a black body before us. But the nudity isn’t designed to shock. Instead, this nudity makes the body malleable, such that it is able to take on a variety of different roles. Throughout the course of the performance, Thomas takes on the forms of the hairdresser, the janitor, and the “exotic” dancer, giving these professions a depth they all too often lack. The intervention is a welcome one, especially when the tradition of Western art history, of which we are for better or worse the inheritors, has bequeathed us hardened stereotypes in the place of living, breathing human beings...