'Each of us is a cacophony of experience. Not just a seamless self.'Read More
—Nathaniel Mary Quinn
In his collage-like composite portraits derived from sources both personal and found, Nathaniel Mary Quinn probes the relationship between visual memory and perception. Fragments of images taken from online searches, fashion magazines, and family photographs come together to form hybrid faces and figures that are at once neo-Dada and adamantly realist, evoking the intimacy and intensity of a face-to-face encounter with an alien other.
Collecting imagery that he tears, cuts, and overlaps on the walls of his studio, Quinn uses oil paint, charcoal, gouache, oil stick, and pastels to render facial features and details from the found images, covering parts of the canvas as he goes. He employs the stream-of-consciousness tactics of Dada, as in the chimerical, masklike collages of Hannah Höch, together with a visceral realism reminiscent of Romare Bearden, whose deft photomontages made palpable the feelings, spaces, music, and energies of Black experience during the Civil Rights era and after. By adapting the medium of collage and translating it into cohesive two-dimensionality, Quinn suggests that multiplicity is a perennial rather than fleeting state.
Quinn was born in Chicago in 1977, and lives and works in New York. Collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Art Institute of Chicago. Quinn's first solo museum exhibition, This is Life, was presented at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin, from December 2018 to March 2019.
Text courtesy Gagosian.
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