Feb 21st 2020

Nathaniel Mary Quinn: Soil, Seed, and, Rain

@ Rhona Hoffman Gallery

1711 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Opening Friday, February 21st, from 5PM - 7:30PM

On view through Saturday, March 28th

Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Soil, Seed, and, Rain
February 21 – March 28, 2020

Opening reception:
February 21, 2020
5:00 – 7:30 pm

“Love, when you think about it, feels very large, very
abstract, but in that abstraction lives a very specific
feeling. When you try to describe it with words, you
lose that specificity, but with my work, I’m trying to
give it a tangible form.” —Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Rhona Hoffman Gallery is pleased to announce Soil, Seed, and Rain, an exhibition of new work by Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn. This is his third exhibition with the gallery.

New paintings and works on paper continue Quinn’s exploration of the human form, testing the boundaries between abstraction and figuration, memory and perception. Rendered in the artist’s signature mode—what he calls “expressionistic cubism”—the deconstructed portraits give subjective form to the connections between Quinn and people in his life, from loved ones and neighbors to more recent acquaintances. Privileging emotional honesty over literal representation, these latest works result from a more intuitive process than Quinn’s earlier portraiture. He builds each composition in response to a few initial strokes of paint laid down on the painting’s surface, allowing this unmediated energy to guide the image. “Those initial strokes are the most fervent, most honest, most genuine,” he says. “Those are the strokes that are far less likely to be controlled or conditioned.”

The exhibition’s title, Soil, Seed, and Rain, speaks to Quinn’s interest in a more elemental, pared-down approach to human connection and form—one drawn from the literal stuff of life.


Nathaniel Mary Quinn (b. 1977) creates hybrid, fractured portraits on paper and linen using charcoal, gouache, pastel, paint stick, and oil paint. His works are replete with art historical references to Cubism, Surrealism, Francis Bacon, and others, yet his process is also very personal, drawing from his memories, experiences, traumas, and family history growing up in Chicago’s Robert Taylor housing project. Quinn balances the beautiful with the grotesque, the sinister with the benevolent, capturing the complexity of human emotion in a way that is individual and also representative of the human condition.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn has exhibited at galleries and institutions internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills; Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin; Almine Rech, Brussels; Half Gallery, New York; Luce Gallery, Torino; M + B Gallery, Los Angeles; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Bunker 259 Gallery, New York; Pace Gallery, London; and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), New York. Quinn is included in the public collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Sheldon Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. Nathaniel Mary Quinn, a native of Chicago, received his BFA from Wabash College and his MFA from New York University. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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