JANUARY 30–APRIL 19, 2015
"Art history is not linear; although it is often taught as such. Culture is a multidimensional network that feeds and builds upon itself in a mash up that transcends time."—Ryan McGinness
Born and raised in Virginia Beach and now based in New York, McGinness (born 1972) is known for his lively marriage of abstraction and figuration. His early interest in design, illustration, and popular culture led to a flat, cleanedged style of bold logolike images. He refers to these as icons, a nod to his interest in merging corporate culture and fine art.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond commissioned McGinness to create a new multipart painting—Art History Is Not Linear (VMFA). The painting’s 200 icons are all based on works in VMFA’s collection, which McGinness studied over several years through direct observation, books, and the museum’s website. McGinness reinterpreted the works through a process of hand drawing and computer design, producing a repertoire of new icons. With intuition as his guide, he then collaged the images using the screen-printing process to create vibrant, densely layered paintings that serve as an introduction to the museum’s holdings. This exhibition explores the creative process behind the making of the commissioned painting.
This exhibition has been organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Ryan McGinness. It is curated by John B. Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, VMFA.
Photographs and video of McGinness’s studio by Sherry Griffin, 2013.