Works Exhibited


Each of us is a cacophony of experience. Not just a seamless self.
—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 sources, 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.

Quinn’s passion for drawing began at a young age, while he was growing up on the South Side of Chicago. In ninth grade, he received a scholarship to attend Culver Academies boarding school in Indiana—but a month after arriving at the school, Quinn received news from his father that his mother had suddenly passed away. He returned to Chicago for Thanksgiving the following month, only to find that the rest of his family—his father and brothers—had abandoned his childhood home without a trace. This jarring experience further propelled Quinn’s art, and he decided to commit himself to his education, adding his mother’s name, Mary, to his name so that she would appear on all of his degrees. He received a BA in art and psychology from Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 2000, and an MFA from New York University in 2002.

After completing his MFA, Quinn moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he continued to paint while working as a teacher for at-risk youth. In 2013 he had a breakthrough, developing a new technique that would draw wide attention to his work. The mother of one of his students invited Quinn to show five works in an art salon that she was hosting in her home. On the day of the opening, however, he only had four works finished. Improvising, he began to paint a blurred memory of his past, piecing together fragments of images from his subconscious. When he stepped back, he recognized the mouth of his brother Charles.

A portrait of Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Photo: Kyle Dorosz



Cover of the Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly magazine, featuring artwork by Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Gagosian Quarterly: Fall 2019 Issue

Cover of the Spring 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly magazine, featuring artwork by Gerhard Richter

Gagosian Quarterly: Spring 2021 Issue

Cover of the book Nathaniel Mary Quinn: Always Felt, Rarely Seen

Nathaniel Mary Quinn: Always Felt, Rarely Seen


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