Ryan McGinness is an American artist, living and working in New York City. Known for his original extensive vocabulary of graphic drawings which use the visual language of public signage, corporate logos, and contemporary iconography, McGinness creates paintings, sculptures, and environments. McGinness’ new Women series is showcased in this artist-designed catalogue from the exhibition Women: New (Re)Presentations at Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla, CA. Based on figure drawings from life models, McGinness’ Women series captures the essence of beauty in its simplicity of form. The book features an essay by Robert Pincus, interview by Brett Littman, and discussion with Hugh Davies.
“Two parallel desires drive these new Women drawings: My desire to simplify and iconify the underlying visually logical geometries inherent in my figure drawings in order to better understand my subject matter; and my desire to embrace and capture the purely aesthetic experience of graceful curves and sensual forms inherent in my models.”
About the Artist
McGinness’s work consists of an amalgam of icons and symbols. Drawing from his background in the design industry, Ryan McGinness’s work resolves the clinical graphic aesthetics of media as vast, contemplative fields of intimate meditation. It incorporates strong social commentary on iconography, language, and historical and contemporary symbolism. His graphic drawings and personal iconography are replicated, re-contextualized, and materialized infinitely throughout his densely-layered paintings. His works are in the permanent public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Cincinnati Art Museum, MUSAC in Spain, and the Misumi Collection in Japan.
“I’m trying to communicate complex and poetic concepts with a cold, graphic, and authoritative visual vocabulary. I concentrate on shape, line, color, and composition to communicate within simplified picture planes. As such, the work resides somewhere between abstraction and representation.
At the essence of our being is the need to know and the need to understand. I am interested in our need to read into and interpret—to make sense of chaos and give meaning to seemingly abstract forms. This interpretation involves an egocentric faith in the fact that there must be a meaning for us to understand. We surrender our logic to the belief that answers do indeed exist, and so, by default, we invent them. With my work, interpretations are not absolute, but guided, to allow for multiple reads. This allows the viewer to bring to the work his own history, memories, and knowledge to find a personalized meaning.”
— Ryan McGinness, 2005
“In the past decade, McGinness has become an art star, thanks to his Warholian mix of pop iconography and silk-screening.”—New York Times
“An unusual marriage of abstraction and representation. McGinness’ slick, colorful paintings consist of layers of images tidily clustered into baroque compositions.”—Art News
“McGinness has mastered and integrated a seemingly infinite variety of visual languages, producing works that inhabit the ever-blurred border between high art and popular illustration.”—Art Forum