I have always been interested in the ways that different groups of people view one another: how they internalize their own identities, how others perceive them, and how their own self-perceptions are physically expressed. Working with portraiture during this tumultuous and historic time, as we reckon with racial discrimination and violence in the midst of a global pandemic, requires me to consider these perceptions in an entirely new way.
—Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Gagosian is pleased to present new paintings and works on paper by Nathaniel Mary Quinn. This will be his first solo presentation with the gallery in London, and will include additional works online to coincide with this year’s virtual edition of Frieze London.
At Davies Street, Quinn will present a selection of paintings, as well as Three Months In (2020), his largest work on paper to date. With its wide plate glass window, this storefront exhibition space will act as the artist’s “solo booth” for Frieze London, while the Gagosian Quarterly online will present a time-lapse video documenting him making one of the exhibited paintings earlier this year, with added commentary from the artist about his process.
While Quinn’s portraits may resemble collages, they are actually rendered in oil paint, charcoal, gouache, oil stick, pastel, and gold leaf. He begins with a vision—a flash of a face from his past—that he feels compelled to translate into reality. Collecting images from magazines, newspapers, comics, and advertisements, he reimagines them as purely aesthetic snippets detached from their original contexts, before methodically reproducing each one by hand. Using the Surrealist strategy of the cadavre exquis, Quinn covers parts of his own composition with construction paper as he works, so that no existing section influences the appearance of the next. As with his Surrealist forebears, this composite approach focuses on the nuances of the subconscious, coaxing forth repressed emotions.
In these new larger-than-life portraits, Quinn turns his attention to the subtle social shifts that accompany life in a time of crisis and isolation. Each painting is born out of a specific memory or encounter; some portraits, such as Lunch (2020), are personal and introspective, evoking childhood nostalgia through soft, inviting facial features. Other paintings offer harrowing social critique, confronting the racial bias of threatening criminality that is so often thrust upon Black men. In Pig Target and Mr. Nightmare (both 2020), Quinn portrays his subjects as seen through the eyes of racist aggressors; they are dehumanized and transformed through the strategies of distortion and fragmentation into a red-clad target for slaughter, or a bestial mutant from the pages of a comic book.
Concurrently, a suite of charcoal-on-paper “enhanced performance drawings” will premiere on the Gagosian website and in the Frieze Viewing Room from October 7 through 16. Quinn creates these drawings using both hands simultaneously, often “enhancing” them with colorful swaths of gouache and soft pastel. For the ambidextrous artist, the technique behind these works is a full-body performance that expands upon his spontaneous act of rendering visions, yet the end result is surprisingly and resolutely representational. Drawing is a foundational aspect of Quinn’s practice; raw, visceral, and intimately scaled, his works on paper inform the affective power and compositional rhythm of his larger paintings.
17–19 Davies Street
London W1K 3DE
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10–6 by appointment
In the interest of public health, please read the new guidelines for visiting the Davies Street gallery.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn: In the Studio
Hear the painter describe the creation of a new work in this time-lapse documentation of his process.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn
A statement from the artist.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn and Troy Carter
On the eve of the opening of his first exhibition with Gagosian, in Beverly Hills, Nathaniel Mary Quinn joined Troy Carter for a conversation at LA’s Hammer Museum. They spoke about deliverance, Quinn’s new work, and what drives him to make art.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Anderson Cooper spoke with the artist at his Brooklyn studio about his childhood and the visionary nature of his art.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Frieze London Online
Nathaniel Mary Quinn
October 7–16, 2020
Gagosian is pleased to present new works by Nathaniel Mary Quinn for the online edition of Frieze London. A suite of drawings by Quinn will premiere concurrently on the Gagosian website and in the Frieze Viewing Room. In addition, a selection of paintings and a large-scale work on paper will be on view at Gagosian, Davies Street, London, through November 21. With its wide plate glass window, this storefront exhibition space will act as the artist’s “solo booth” for Frieze London.
Nathaniel Mary Quinn. Photo: Ike Edeani
Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now
In partnership with English Heritage
April 12–May 18, 2019
Grosvenor Hill, London