LONDON.- Pace London
presents Past/Present, an exhibition of new works by Brooklyn-based artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn from 5 September to 4 October 2014 at 6-10 Lexington Street.
Quinns vivid, large-scale paper works are an assemblage of facial features which can be read as abstract-figurative works. The pieces deal with the complex construction of identity, inevitably influenced by past memories and present experiences, but executed in the moment.
My work arrives somewhere between abstraction and figuration; the cuts and breaks in the image seem to have an independent life within each work. Not simply the happenstance of a meeting place, the gap or break is a type of functional geometry, opening up spaces within and between imagery. My work is the result of a highly instinctual and visceral activity, without the guidance of a plan. Nathaniel Mary Quinn, July, 2014.
The artist takes great interest in mixing media, subverting the traditional use of black charcoal, oil-paint, paint-stick, gouache, oil pastel and cardboard onto the same surface. Although reminiscent of Synthetic Cubism, Quinns works function outside of these historical references and reveal themselves as autobiographical, narrative and representational. The hybrid creatures that appear in these distinctive compositions are formed from a mixture of family portraits, popular articles, and advertisements.
The artists personal history has a tremendous influence on his work. Reflecting on his difficult upbringing and the challenges he faced in his young lifelosing his mother at a very young age and later being abandoned by his father and brothersevery work is a conscious endeavour to free his mind from excessive introspection. Quinn aims to explore his own human identity and life experiences, which have formed and continue to shape his character.
Highlights of the exhibition include Diane, a small piece that features an assembled portrait presenting both geometry and softness, yet robustly exaggerated by contorted and flattened surface manipulations. A fleshy mouth and a necklace would call to mind an archetypical female character, yet the viewer is left disorientated without clear, immediate gender identification.
The constant fracture between faces and the body correlate to Quinns past and present experience; a cathartic and personal practice through which he gives life back to his subjects.
The unique interplay of subject, form and medium that can be seen in Quinns work conveys the artists own sense of artistic freedom. The work sits in tension on the boundary of what can be seen as purposely grotesque or aesthetically pleasing, presenting both beauty and melancholy.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn was born in 1977 in Chicago, US. Having received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wabash College, Quinn obtained his Master of Fine Arts from New York University. Quinns work was first introduced to the public in a group exhibition at Artists Space in 2002 and through The Bronx Museum of the Arts in 2004. He is the recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Artistic, Performance, and Fine Arts Award and a two-time winner of the National Arts Club Prize. His work has been exhibited in a number of one-person and group exhibitions: one-person exhibitions include Hybrids: The Windows Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Brooklyn, The Magic Stick at Rush Arts Gallery, New York and most recently, Species at Bunker 259, Brooklyn. Group exhibitions include The Mythic Female and Macro-Micro at Satori Gallery, New York, American Beauty at Susan- Inglett Gallery, New York, Corpus Americus at Driscoll Babcock Gallery, New York, Look At Me: Portraits from Manet to the Present, at the Leila Heller Gallery. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.