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b. 1992, USA

Vaughn Spann Biography

Vaughn Spann is an American contemporary painter born in Florida and based in New Jersey. His artworks explore concepts of memory, time, and space, through both enigmatic and expressive abstraction, as well as detailed surreal figuration.

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Spann completed a BFA at Rutgers University under the mentorship of the late artist and professor, Denyse Thomasos. Graduating in 2014, Spann later completed an MFA at Yale University (2018). The following year, he was accepted into the NXTHVN (Next Haven) artist residency programme, established by Yale alumnus and MacArthur Fellow Titus Kaphar.

Vaughn Spann's art does not conform to a singular focus. He once explained 'I don't want to choose one conversation. I want to be rebellious and think through lots of ideas.' His paintings can be divided between two stylistic branches—abstract and figurative—though with some seepage in between.

Spann's complex mixed media abstractions are painterly and expressive, and offer a rich diversity of colour and textures. While abstract, such works often incorporate 'universal symbols' like circles, spheres, X-marks, brickwork patterns, and even rainbows. Carrying out formalist investigations of colour, line, shape, and material in these works, Spann generates compelling content relating to historical and personal narratives.

Vaughn Spann's 'Marked Man' series (2019–ongoing), uses the 'X' form to allude to both personal and collective experiences as an African American man being racially profiled, or 'marked', by police for stop-and-frisk procedures when he was in college. Spann's figurative paintings, on the other hand, are characterised by smooth surfaces, a vivid palette, and crisply defined and detailed forms.

Vaughn Spann's figurative work most often presents surreal scenes, as in Basking in the wind (2019) and Parisian Girls (2019). Both works feature vibrantly adorned two-headed figures sporting contrasting expressions. Both are also accompanied by pairs of animals in outdoor but very secluded spaces.

A rising star of the contemporary art world, Vaughn Spann's work has found an international audience in art fairs like Frieze London, Art Basel Miami Beach, and EXPO Chicago. His work can also be found in major collections, such as the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Pérez Art Museum Miami; Deji Art Museum, Nanjing; and the Rubell Family Collection.

Vaughn Spann Solo Exhibitions include:

Smoke Signals, Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels (2020); The Heat Lets Us Know We're Alive, Almine Rech Gallery, New York (2020); Scorched Earth and The Weeping Sun, Kaikai KiKi Gallery, Tokyo (2019); Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, David Castillo, Miami (2019); Orange, Yellow, Purple, Blue Skies, Half Gallery, New York (2018).

Vaughn Spann Group Exhibitions include:

Polyphonic, Pérez Art Museum Miami (2020); Unparalleled Journey through Contemporary Art of Past 50 Years, Rubell Museum, Miami (2019); Domestic Horror, Gagosian, New York (2019); Early 21st Century Art, Almine Rech Gallery, London (2018); After Afropolitan, Weeksville Heritage Center and Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, New York (2015); For Whom it Stands, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore (2014).

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2021

Vaughn Spann Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Vaughn Spann contemporary artwork
Vaughn SpannUntitled, 2020Oil paint, canvas on stretcher bars
121.9 x 91.4 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Exploded Rainbow (disappearing act) by Vaughn Spann contemporary artwork
Vaughn SpannExploded Rainbow (disappearing act), 2020Polymer paint, terry cloth, and canvas on stretcher bars
84.25 x 80.75 x 1.75 inches
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Beach Side by Vaughn Spann contemporary artwork
Vaughn SpannBeach Side, 2019Oil paint, canvas on aluminium stretcher bars
228.6 x 203.2 x 3.5 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Cosmic Symbiote (Marked Man) by Vaughn Spann contemporary artwork
Vaughn SpannCosmic Symbiote (Marked Man), 2019Polymer paint, mixed media on aluminium stretcher bars
213.4 x 213.7 x 4.4 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Lost in a Sea of White by Vaughn Spann contemporary artwork
Vaughn SpannLost in a Sea of White, 2019Polymer paint, mixed media, resin on wood panel
76.2 x 61 x 12.1 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Basking in the wind by Vaughn Spann contemporary artwork
Vaughn SpannBasking in the wind, 2019Oil on canvas
213.4 x 228.6 x 3.17 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Parisian Girls by Vaughn Spann contemporary artwork
Vaughn SpannParisian Girls, 2019Oil on canvas
226.8 x 203.2 x 3.17 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Untitled (Flag) by Vaughn Spann contemporary artwork
Vaughn SpannUntitled (Flag), 2019Polymer paint, terry cloth and mixed media on canvas
213.4 x 213.4 x 3.81 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery

Vaughn Spann Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Un Hiver à Gstaad Paris at Almine Rech, Paris
Upcoming
6–27 February 2021 Group Exhibition Un Hiver à Gstaad Paris Almine RechParis
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Painting Someone at Almine Rech, Shanghai
Closed
6 November–26 December 2020 Group Exhibition Painting Someone Almine RechShanghai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Sympathetic Magic, organised by Bill Powers at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Closed
22 September–24 October 2020 Group Exhibition Sympathetic Magic, organised by Bill Powers Blum & PoeLos Angeles

Vaughn Spann Represented By

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium Almine Rech Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai

Vaughn Spann In Ocula Magazine

Portraitist Amy Sherald Obliterates Auction Record Ocula News Portraitist Amy Sherald Obliterates Auction Record New York, 9 December 2020

Works by Black artists outstripped estimates several times over at Phillips' New York auction last night.

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Frieze Viewing Room: Ten Advisory Selections Ocula Insight Frieze Viewing Room: Ten Advisory Selections By Rory Mitchell, London

Ocula Art Advisory highlights ten artworks showing in Frieze Viewing Room.

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Vaughn Spann In Related Press

‘Domestic Horror’ on the Upper East Side Related Press ‘Domestic Horror’ on the Upper East Side 12 September 2019, Fine Art Globe

The first Thursday in September comes like a sharp ring of an alarm clock, stirring the last dregs of summer in the city. It marks the awakening of all things culture across the Tri-state Area— as vagabond New Yorkers and visitors flock from all around the world to savor the newest in fashion, their appetite for visual art must also be met....

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