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Nina Chanel Abney

DEPICTING Andrew Young

“Combining representation and abstraction, my paintings capture the frenetic pace of contemporary culture. In using symbols and bright colors to present new ways of approaching loaded topics, viewers are invited to draw their own conclusions. Portraits have been used to show the power, importance, virtue, beauty, and wealth of the sitter. In this piece, the viewer is challenged to think about the history of portraiture – who is historically represented in this way and why. Thinking about portraiture as a way to immortalize underrepresented heroes, I chose to portray Andrew Young in a very canonical way as a means to ‘re-do history.’ I insert those who despite their notable accomplishments are continually left out of the conservation solely because of their race, gender, or sexuality.” – Nina Chanel Abney

Artist's depiction of Andrew Young
Untitled [Andrew Young], 2018. Nina Chanel Abney. © Nina Chanel Abney. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


Nina Chanel Abney

(b. 1982) Combining representation and abstraction, Nina Chanel Abney’s paintings capture the frenetic pace of contemporary culture. Broaching subjects as diverse as race, celebrity, religion, politics, sex, and art history, her works privilege disjointed narratives over linear storytelling. Abney works in a pop-surrealist style, employing cartoonish figures and compositions to reflect the perpetual stimulation of the digital age.