Aug 28th 2021

Nathaniel Robinson: 2020 to 2021

@ Devening Projects

3039 W Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL 60612

Opening Saturday, August 28th, from 2PM - 5PM

On view through Tuesday, November 16th

Devening Projects invites you to 2020 to 2021, Nathaniel Robinson’s fourth solo show with the gallery and the opening of our 2021/2022 season. For this exhibition, Nathaniel presents a series of paintings produced during the past two years. The exhibition opens on Saturday, August 28, from 2 – 5pm. All are welcome to join us for an artist reception; in accordance with municipal guidelines, masks will be required for all visitors regardless of vaccination status.

In March of 2020, the world changed. The impact of COVID on every aspect of our lives became immeasurable to some degree; considerable surely. For many artists, the imposed quarantine liberated a desire to isolate, focus and make. For Nathaniel Robinson, who lives and works in Upstate New York, the restrictions may have resulted in an interpretive reframing of an already well-developed series of paintings. Even before the lockdown, he was drawing attention to the beauty of the overlooked. The work featured in 2020 to 2021 is the culmination of a more specific time spent in reduced social circumstance and directs attention anew to the relationship between close looking and the time necessary to do so.

Many of the paintings reflect on the ubiquity of particular subjects—exurban housing, rural landscapes, domestic still-lifes—to offer an intimate or resonant relationship with something normally passed by. How Robinson will mediate a scene through the lens of a moving vehicle, or capture a moment between a glimpse and what may have been only imagined; or filters access to an event through light evocation, shows us that everything we encounter may be fleeting, elusive and in question. As we now breathe through masks and transact through partitions, the work of Robinson takes on a new level of importance. While it’s clear that his intent to bring the mystery of the commonplace to us through painting was not with COVID as a back-drop, the depth of this cultural phenomenon may intensify the experience of his work.

When asked about the recent work, Robinson said: “Many of the paintings involve a sense of glimpses caught in passing. The puzzle I try to solve is how to preserve this quality—a certain informality and precipitousness—while also crystallizing a particular overall structure. I tend to think about time in general in layers, from immediate experience, through cycles of days and seasons, to historical, to geological, time. I think about the nature of the present, what the present means on different time scales, and how we now seem to be at a point of inflection where disparate time scales which are supposed to sail on mostly oblivious to one another are suddenly converging.”

Nathaniel Robinson received his Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College in 2002 and his Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005. He has had solo exhibitions at Feature, Inc. and Magenta Plains in New York; Devening Projects and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in Chicago; Twig Gallery, Brussels; and Northwestern College, St.Paul, Minnesota, among others. He has participated in group exhibitions at 33 Orchard, Martos Gallery, On Stellar Rays and White Columns in New York; Adds Donna, Devening Projects and Heaven Gallery in Chicago; Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York; as well as in Brussels, Dusseldorf, Istanbul, Leipzig and Melbourne. In 2015 he received a Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Painters and Sculptors Grant. In 2O19 his work was included in the Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. His exhibitions have been reviewed in Art Ltd., Art in America, Artforum, Hyperallergic, The L Magazine, Modern Painters, New York Magazine and The New York Times. Robinson lives and works in Brewster, New York.

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