Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush, a 10-year survey of approximately 30 of the artists paintings, watercolors and collages, is on view at the Nasher Museum of Art
at Duke University.
This marks the first solo exhibition for the Chicago-born artist, who has also create a large, temporary wall drawing specifically for the museum.
Abney, born in 1982, is at the forefront of a generation of artists that is unapologetically revitalizing narrative figurative painting. A skillful storyteller, Abney visually articulates the complex social dynamics of contemporary urban life.
We are so excited to introduce this important young artist to wider audiences, said Marshall N. Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum, and curator of the exhibition. In her monumental paintings, Abney takes on some of the most pressing issues today, from racial dynamics and criminal justice to consumerism and celebrity culture.
Her seductive visual language is comprised of a jumble of figures, words and shapes to the point of information overload. With this as her backdrop, Abney creates paintings that explore some of the deeper recesses of human nature.
Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush will be on view at the Nasher until July 16, then travel to the Chicago Cultural Center and then to Los Angeles, where it will be jointly presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art and the California African American Museum.
The artist has said that her work is easy to swallow, hard to digest. She was identified by Vanity Fair magazine as one of the many artists championing the Black Lives Matter movement. Several of her early paintings directly confront interracial violence. Often based on real events, Abneys works take the viewer on occasionally uncomfortable existential investigations of an imperfect humanity.
The title of the exhibition is taken from a players most valuable hand in the game of poker, but Royal Flush is something of a double entendre. It refers to Abneys work, which contains iconography reminiscent of playing cards and the four different suits, Price said. But the title Royal Flush also suggests that the artist holds a valuable hand. When Abney lays her cards on the table, she presents paintings rich in critical commentary and meaningful metaphor.
The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue published by the Nasher Museum and distributed by Duke University Press.