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Jack Shainman Gallery is presenting two new untitled paintings by Nina Chanel Abney at Art Basel Miami Beach.

 

THE JACK SHAINMAN BOOTH at Art Basel Miami Beach is always a big draw, presenting artists from its impressive roster of diverse artists. This year the space will feature a new artist. Jack Shainman announced its representation of Nina Chanel Abney and is debuting a pair of her paintings at the Miami art fair this week. Abney joins a slate of important African American artist at Jack Shainman including Kerry James Marshall, Nick Cave, El Anatsui, Barkley L. Hendricks, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems.

Abney is an intuitive, next-generation storyteller who is boldly redefining narrative figurative painting. In its announcement, the New York gallery said Abney’s paintings “capture the frenetic pace of contemporary culture” and further described how her practice engages both art history and the realities of our media-centric society:

    “Broaching subjects as diverse as race, celebrity, religion, politics, sex, and art history, her works
    eschew linear storytelling in lieu of disjointed narratives. The effect is information overload, balanced
    with a kind of spontaneous order, where time and space are compressed and identity is interchangeable. Her distinctively bold style harnesses the flux and simultaneity that has come to define life in the 21st century.

    “Through a bracing use of color and unapologetic scale, Abney’s canvases propose a new type of history painting, one grounded in the barrage of everyday events and funneled through the velocity of the internet.”

“Through a bracing use of color and unapologetic scale, Abney’s canvases propose a new type of history painting, one grounded in the barrage of everyday events and funneled through the velocity of the internet.”
— Jack Shainman Gallery

nina-chanel-abney-whitney-studio-party-at-the-whitney-museum-of-american-art-nyc-051716-iandrew-toth-getty-imagesBORN IN CHICAGO, Abney lives and works in New York. She was previously represented by Kravets Wehby gallery where her exhibition “Always a Winner” was on view last fall. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, she was one of five artists included in the group show “Flatlands” and, in July, Abney and Lowery Stokes Sims discussed one of her influences, artist Stuart Davis, at the museum.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts acquired one of Abney’s paintings. Her first major acquisition was made by the Rubell Family Collection, a decade ago, at her thesis show, a compelling work, depicting her MFA class at Parsons School of Design in New York.

I recently published an interview with Abney about the work, “Class of 2007.” The painting is included in “30 Americans,” a traveling exhibition featuring works from the Rubell collection by African American contemporary artists. The exhibition is currently on view at the Tacoma Art Museum.

During the conversation, I asked Abney about how her work has evolved since 2007. In these previously unpublished excerpts, she talks about her exhibition “Always a Winner” and her current painting style and approach.

Abney on “Always a Winner”: “In all of my work, I like to cram in a bunch of different things. The paintings aren’t really one set thing. The police are a major focus of this body of work because I felt like this is something I can’t really abstract. For the first time, I wanted to be very confrontational. My last few paintings or shows I have been dealing with figuration and abstraction. I’ve been purposely obscuring any form of narrative. But this time, I kind of want it in your face where you can’t deny it… As I am going along, I don’t plan any of this out. It’s all intuitive. It’s something I see on the news, or music. If it’s sparking an interest, it might end up in the work.”

“I’ve been purposely obscuring any form of narrative. But this time, I kind of want it in your face where you can’t deny it… As I am going along, I don’t plan any of this out. It’s all intuitive. It’s something I see on the news, or music. If it’s sparking an interest, it might end up in the work.”
— Nina Chanel Abney

Abney on her current visual style: “I kind of create my own language and make it, I guess, more simple. I used to be very into cartoons and even with my color palette I was trying to figure out a way to seduce the viewer into looking at paintings with heavy subject matter without wanting to turn away. That was my official reasoning. But I also over time have become interested in collage and that’s also changed my work a little bit. In the future, I might incorporate how I was painting in 2007. I can’t really explain it, but if I tried to paint the way I did in 2007, I don’t think I could. I just go with the natural progression of my hand. I don’t know if that make any sense. I have things I am interested in visually, like Stuart Davis, and working with collage encouraged me to make the work a little more simpler as far as how it looks. It’s really just what naturally comes out as I am painting.”

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is presenting Abney’s first solo museum exhibition. A 10-year survey, “Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush” opens Feb. 16, 2017, and will be accompanied by fully illustrated catalog. CT

 

READ CULTURE TYPE INTERVIEW with Nina Chanel Abney about her thesis painting “Class of 2007”

 

Top Image (2): NINA CHANEL ABNNEY, “To Be Titled,” 2016 (acrylic and spray paint on canvas). | © Nina Chanel Abney. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; NINA CHANEL ABNEY, “To Be Titled,” 2016 (acrylic and spray paint on canvas). | © Nina Chanel Abney. Courtesythe artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Above right, Nina Chanel Abney attends the 2016 Whitney Studio Party at The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York on May 17, 2016. Photo by Andrew Toth, Courtesy Getty Images

 

BOOKSHELF
Documenting her 10-year career, “Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush,” forthcoming in March, is published to coincide with Nina Chanel Abney’s first solo museum exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (Feb. 16-July 16, 2017). The fully illustrated volume includes contributions by Jamillah James, Natalie Y. Moore, Marshall N. Price (exhibition curator), Richard J. Powell, and Sarah Schroth.

 

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