This painting and its depiction of fruit on a plate exemplify the artist's interest in close observation. This composition is part of a series that depicts commonplace yet frequently overlooked objects and settings: urban housing, rural landscapes and domestic still-lifes. The artist's rendering of these subjects offers viewer's a more intimate or engaged relationship. For some of these works, Robinson used photographs taken from a moving vehicle; in other works, the artist captures how a glimpse can include imagined content. These paintings evoke the fleetingness of everyday encounters and the elusiveness and uncertainty of experience.
The work of Robinson takes on a new level of importance in the context of the current social restrictions adopted to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus—including masks and partitions. Although the artist's exploration of the mysterious in the commonplace was not instigated by the pandemic, the depth of the cultural phenomenon may intensify the experience of his work.
When asked about these recent works, 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 [of] a certain informality . . . 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, [and then] 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’s practice—encompassing painting, sculpture and installation—uses different tools and mediums to explore how thinking is related to seeing. The artist’s approach to painting ranges from uncovering hidden aspects of photographic images to the ambiguities and contradictions that govern representation. Robinson’s work explores how physical reality frequently intrudes into the world of ideas—and how even the factual can remain mysterious.
Nathaniel Robinson was born in Rhode Island in 1980. The artist received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005 and a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College in 2002.
Solo exhibitions of Robinson’s work have taken place at: Thomas Park Gallery in Seoul, South Korea; Feature, Inc. and Magenta Plains in New York City; Devening Projects and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in Chicago, Illinois; Twig Gallery in Brussels, Belgium; and Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota; among others.
Group exhibitions showing Robinson’s work have taken place at: 33 Orchard, Martos Gallery, On Stellar Rays and White Columns in New York City; Adds Donna, Devening Projects and Heaven Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York; as well as venues in Brussels, Belgium; Dusseldorf, Germany; Istanbul, Turkey; Leipzig, Germany; and Melbourne, Australia.
In 2015, Robinson received a Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Painters and Sculptors Grant. In 2019, the artist’s work was included in the Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. In 2022, Robinson was the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship.
Robinson’s work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including: 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.
This painting and its depiction of fruit on a plate exemplify the artist's interest in close observation. This composition is part of a series that evokes the fleetingness of everyday encounters and the elusiveness and uncertainty of experience.More