Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Contact Info: 

Erika Monroe-Kane, Director of Communications
608.257.0158 x 237 or erika@mmoca.org

Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life

December 1, 2018–March 3, 2019

MMoCA Opening Friday, November 30, 6–9 PM

MADISON, WI-Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life will be on view in MMoCA’s State Street Gallery from December 1, 2018 through March 3, 2019. The exhibition features a selection of the artist’s mixed-media works on paper from 2014 to 2018. During this crucial four-year period Quinn developed and refined the collage-like technique now synonymous with his name. This exhibition will be Quinn’s first solo museum show, and will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue of the same name. The MMoCA Opening celebration will be held on Friday, November 30 from 6 to 9 pm. The artist will discuss his working methods as well as the inspiration for his work during a talk in the museum’s lecture hall from 6:30 to 7:15 pm.

“I am thrilled MMoCA is able to bring Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s work to Madison,” stated Leah Kolb, MMoCA curator of exhibitions. “He approaches his art in much the same way he approaches the world: with a highly poetic eye and a deeply generous spirit.” 

Quinn’s portraits initially appear to be pieced together from newspaper and magazine clippings. The artist, however, renders everything by hand. Using black charcoal and soft pastel over gouache—with careful interjections of oil paint, paint stick, and oil pastel—he masterfully manipulates his various mediums to create unconventional depictions of individuals from his past. The artist references disparate sources of imagery—from comic books to Northern Renaissance paintings—to compose each artwork. Rather than replicating a physical likeness, Quinn’s abstracted compositions express psychological dimensions of identity.

Preferring complexity and ambiguity over mimetic, or “truthful”, renderings of appearance, Quinn’s portraits actually reflect a more accurate truth about the human condition. Quinn spoke to this in a recent interview, stating; “It’s important as a people to embrace who we are and embrace our differences. It’s in our difference that we can see the similarities we share, which is that we are all complex. We are all beautiful and grotesque, we are all broken in some way, and in the midst of being broken we find ways to embrace our brokenness and carry on life. But we are all like this. Happiness, grief, joy … this is life.”

Giving image to the universal messiness of humanness, Quinn opens an important space to consider alternative ways of imagining, representing, and understanding ourselves and the world around us.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s life story deeply informs the content and compositions of his paintings. Born in 1977 as the youngest of five boys, the artist grew up in the Robert Taylor housing projects on Chicago’s South Side, a community beleaguered by poverty and violence. A talented student, Quinn won a scholarship to an Indiana boarding school at fifteen. His mother passed away shortly after he started at the school, and when he returned home to visit one month after her funeral, he found his family’s apartment empty: his father and brothers had abandoned him. Orphaned, he returned to school, strenuously applying himself so he could keep his scholarship. He ultimately attended Wabash College in Indiana, completing a BA with distinctions.

Quinn was awarded a fellowship to New York University, and earned his MFA from NYU in 2002. He is a recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Artistic, Performance, and Fine Arts Award and a two-time winner of the National Arts Club Prize. Quinn’s work has been shown nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions since 2004, and his work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including The New York Times, the Chicago Reader, and the Huffington Post. Quinn’s work is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Hammer Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. He is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, and M+B Gallery, Los Angeles.

Quinn’s personal narrative is woven into his work: he paints individuals he remembers from his past, from the drug dealers who patrolled the streets surrounding the Robert Taylor Homes to the teachers who nurtured his artistic growth. For a feature in W Magazine, the artist said his work “is about my trying to seek a resolution to my childhood; It’s my way of recreating my family so that they can continue to exist. Formally speaking, I wanted to find a way to create a stronger marriage between the grotesque and the seamless, between chaos and organization.” The vivid portraits that result can be interpreted as the artist’s extended meditation on the resiliency of human nature.

To fully document Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life, MMoCA will publish the artist’s first exhibition catalogue. This fully illustrated book is being designed by Art + Sons, who worked closely with Quinn on the publication. It will contain a foreword by MMoCA director, Stephen Fleischman; a scholarly essay by Claire Gilman, chief curator at The Drawing Center, NY; and an additional essay by MMoCA curator of exhibitions, Leah Kolb.

 

SPONSORS

Generous funding, to date, for Nathaniel Mary Quinn has been provided by Holly Cremer Berkenstadt; Sara Guyer and Scott Straus; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; and MMoCA Volunteers. 

 

EXHIBITION EVENTS

Friday, November 30 • 6-9 pm
MMoCA Opening with Artist Talk by Nathaniel Mary Quinn (6:30–7:15 pm)

In a recent Forbes article, the paintings of Nathaniel Mary Quinn were referred to as, “Quite simply, some of the most innovative and emotionally profound work being done in contemporary painting.”

 

MMOCA invites the public to celebrate the opening of a solo exhibition of his work. Beginning at 6 pm, guests may view works in the State Street Gallery. From 6:30 to 7:15 pm Quinn will discuss his working methods as well as the sources of and inspirations for his work (seating capacity is limited).

Music for the opening will be provided by DJ M. White, CEO, Intuition Productions. Hors d’oeuvres from Fresco will be passed and cocktails will be available at a cash bar. The evenings are always free for MMoCA members / $10 for non-members.

 

Saturday, December 8 • 1–1:30 pm
Drop-in Tour – Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life

Drop by MMoCA for lively and informal discussions of current exhibitions. Expertly led by MMoCA’s docents, these free, 30-minute guided tours consider artists’ creative decisions and provide insight into their methods, ideas, and influences. Meet in the museum lobby.

 

Sunday, December 9 • 1–2:30 pm
Kids’ Art Adventure – Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life

Explore the eccentric portraits in Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life and use monoprint and collage techniques to create a wild self-portrait.

Families are invited to make art together in MMoCA’s classroom. First enjoy a lively discussion in the galleries, then roll up your sleeves with your favorite young art explorers to experiment with what you have learned. Children aged six to ten with an adult are welcome. Kids’ Art Adventures are free and begin at 1 pm. Come 15 minutes early to sign up.

__________

Housed in a soaring, Cesar Pelli-designed building, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art provides free exhibitions and education programs that engage people in modern and contemporary art. The museum’s four galleries offer changing exhibitions that feature established and emerging artists. The Rooftop Sculpture Garden provides an urban oasis with an incredible view. The museum is open: Tuesday through Thursday, noon–5 pm; Friday, noon–8 pm; Saturday, 10 am–8 pm; Sunday, noon–5 pm; and is closed on Mondays.    

December 1, 2018–March 3, 2019

MMoCA Opening Friday, November 30, 6–9 PM

 

MADISON, WI-Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life will be on view in MMoCA’s State Street Gallery from December 1, 2018 through March 3, 2019. The exhibition features a selection of the artist’s mixed-media works on paper from 2014 to 2018. During this crucial four-year period Quinn developed and refined the collage-like technique now synonymous with his name. This exhibition will be Quinn’s first solo museum show, and will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue of the same name. The MMoCA Opening celebration will be held on Friday, November 30 from 6 to 9 pm. The artist will discuss his working methods as well as the inspiration for his work during a talk in the museum’s lecture hall from 6:30 to 7:15 pm.

 

“I am thrilled MMoCA is able to bring Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s work to Madison,” stated Leah Kolb, MMoCA curator of exhibitions. “He approaches his art in much the same way he approaches the world: with a highly poetic eye and a deeply generous spirit.” 

 

Quinn’s portraits initially appear to be pieced together from newspaper and magazine clippings. The artist, however, renders everything by hand. Using black charcoal and soft pastel over gouache—with careful interjections of oil paint, paint stick, and oil pastel—he masterfully manipulates his various mediums to create unconventional depictions of individuals from his past. The artist references disparate sources of imagery—from comic books to Northern Renaissance paintings—to compose each artwork. Rather than replicating a physical likeness, Quinn’s abstracted compositions express psychological dimensions of identity.

 

Preferring complexity and ambiguity over mimetic, or “truthful”, renderings of appearance, Quinn’s portraits actually reflect a more accurate truth about the human condition. Quinn spoke to this in a recent interview, stating; “It’s important as a people to embrace who we are and embrace our differences. It’s in our difference that we can see the similarities we share, which is that we are all complex. We are all beautiful and grotesque, we are all broken in some way, and in the midst of being broken we find ways to embrace our brokenness and carry on life. But we are all like this. Happiness, grief, joy … this is life.”

 

Giving image to the universal messiness of humanness, Quinn opens an important space to consider alternative ways of imagining, representing, and understanding ourselves and the world around us.

 

Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s life story deeply informs the content and compositions of his paintings. Born in 1977 as the youngest of five boys, the artist grew up in the Robert Taylor housing projects on Chicago’s South Side, a community beleaguered by poverty and violence. A talented student, Quinn won a scholarship to an Indiana boarding school at fifteen. His mother passed away shortly after he started at the school, and when he returned home to visit one month after her funeral, he found his family’s apartment empty: his father and brothers had abandoned him. Orphaned, he returned to school, strenuously applying himself so he could keep his scholarship. He ultimately attended Wabash College in Indiana, completing a BA with distinctions.

 

Quinn was awarded a fellowship to New York University, and earned his MFA from NYU in 2002. He is a recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Artistic, Performance, and Fine Arts Award and a two-time winner of the National Arts Club Prize. Quinn’s work has been shown nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions since 2004, and his work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including The New York Times, the Chicago Reader, and the Huffington Post. Quinn’s work is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Hammer Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. He is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, and M+B Gallery, Los Angeles.

 

Quinn’s personal narrative is woven into his work: he paints individuals he remembers from his past, from the drug dealers who patrolled the streets surrounding the Robert Taylor Homes to the teachers who nurtured his artistic growth. For a feature in W Magazine, the artist said his work “is about my trying to seek a resolution to my childhood; It’s my way of recreating my family so that they can continue to exist. Formally speaking, I wanted to find a way to create a stronger marriage between the grotesque and the seamless, between chaos and organization.” The vivid portraits that result can be interpreted as the artist’s extended meditation on the resiliency of human nature.

 

To fully document Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life, MMoCA will publish the artist’s first exhibition catalogue. This fully illustrated book is being designed by Art + Sons, who worked closely with Quinn on the publication. It will contain a foreword by MMoCA director, Stephen Fleischman; a scholarly essay by Claire Gilman, chief curator at The Drawing Center, NY; and an additional essay by MMoCA curator of exhibitions, Leah Kolb.

 

SPONSORS

Generous funding, to date, for Nathaniel Mary Quinn has been provided by Holly Cremer Berkenstadt; Sara Guyer and Scott Straus; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; and MMoCA Volunteers. 

 

 

EXHIBITION EVENTS

 

Friday, November 30 • 6-9 pm

MMoCA Opening with Artist Talk by Nathaniel Mary Quinn (6:30–7:15 pm)

In a recent Forbes article, the paintings of Nathaniel Mary Quinn were referred to as, “Quite simply, some of the most innovative and emotionally profound work being done in contemporary painting.”

 

MMOCA invites the public to celebrate the opening of a solo exhibition of his work. Beginning at 6 pm, guests may view works in the State Street Gallery. From 6:30 to 7:15 pm Quinn will discuss his working methods as well as the sources of and inspirations for his work (seating capacity is limited).

Music for the opening will be provided by DJ M. White, CEO, Intuition Productions. Hors d’oeuvres from Fresco will be passed and cocktails will be available at a cash bar. The evenings are always free for MMoCA members / $10 for non-members.

 

Saturday, December 8 • 1–1:30 pm

Drop-in Tour – Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life

Drop by MMoCA for lively and informal discussions of current exhibitions. Expertly led by MMoCA’s docents, these free, 30-minute guided tours consider artists’ creative decisions and provide insight into their methods, ideas, and influences. Meet in the museum lobby.

 

Sunday, December 9 • 1–2:30 pm

Kids’ Art Adventure – Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life

Explore the eccentric portraits in Nathaniel Mary Quinn: This is Life and use monoprint and collage techniques to create a wild self-portrait.

Families are invited to make art together in MMoCA’s classroom. First enjoy a lively discussion in the galleries, then roll up your sleeves with your favorite young art explorers to experiment with what you have learned. Children aged six to ten with an adult are welcome. Kids’ Art Adventures are free and begin at 1 pm. Come 15 minutes early to sign up.

__________

Housed in a soaring, Cesar Pelli-designed building, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art provides free exhibitions and education programs that engage people in modern and contemporary art. The museum’s four galleries offer changing exhibitions that feature established and emerging artists. The Rooftop Sculpture Garden provides an urban oasis with an incredible view. The museum is open: Tuesday through Thursday, noon–5 pm; Friday, noon–8 pm; Saturday, 10 am–8 pm; Sunday, noon–5 pm; and is closed on Mondays.    

 

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