Throughout his fifty-year practice
of assemblage painting, the artist has interwoven individual memories with historical recollection and his experience of America in the past, by layering paint and personal memorabilia onto large-scale canvases. Though McArthur Binion’s over 40-year investigation of abstract painting has been continual, his work was not widely seen until several years ago.
In the 1970s, Binion lived in New York City and was loosely part of a group of African American painters who, despite the pressures to make artwork that was politically motivated, devoted themselves to abstraction.Binion’s distinctive insertion of narrative and personal history and his emphasis on content, differentiated his work from the more reductive Minimalist practices of other artists and continues to do so today.
The works part of his “DNA” series, which commenced in 2013 and is on going, the artist blends private documents, such as negatives of his birth certificate (which references the situation of many that,like him, were born in rural communities and whose births were never recorded) and handwritten pages of his old phone books (where names from the past such as ‘Mary Boone’ and ‘Basquiat’ evoke the 1970s and 80s New York art scene) are covered with layers of painted coloured grids, that conceal and at the same time introduce the narration element of his practice. The “DNA” series are “notions of self-awareness and self-discovery, a conscious reflection on himself and to the historical discourse he has contributed to”.
The use of personal documents asserts the artists own existence and the layers of paint encompass the artists experience with authority and the art world in America. Talking about the series Binion stated that he was interested in “how to bring something into being: not to have it fabricated but to work in an appliedway”.
The intricate surfaces of the canvases become abstract shapes and motives: the artist’s archival belongings, that can only be seen when in very close physical proximity to the canvas, are transformed by the paintbrush into weightily textured patterns and reflect the importance of the influence of Modernism in McArthur Binion’s practice.
Ink: work (Verde) (2018) by McArthur BinionTHAT'S CONTEMPORARY
Ink: Work (Cobalto/Verde) (2018) by McArthur BinionTHAT'S CONTEMPORARY
McArthur Binion was born in Macon, Mississippi, in 1946. He lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.
McArthur Binion’s work has been exhibited in prominent institutions such as the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, VIVA ARTE VIVA, curated by Christine Macel; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas; the University of Maryland University College Gallery; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Detroit Institute of Arts. His works are in renowned public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.
Ink: Work (Blanco/Cobalto) (2018) by McArthur BinionTHAT'S CONTEMPORARY
This virtual exhibition was brought together with Massimo De Carlo Gallery on the occasion of the Exhibition “McArthur Binion Ink: Work” visitable from the 13.09.2018 to the 22.12.2018.
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