This September, Quint Gallery presents a suite of 40 recent charcoal drawings by Ryan McGinness. The 30 x 22 inch drawings are ink, charcoal, and acrylic on paper, fixed with a spray varnish, and coated in a clear acrylic gel. They are contained by fragments of text, graphics, and symbols that suggest layers of information, isolated but related to one another.
Rules, guides, and digital precision: these are the leading tenets of McGinness’ visual practice towards an often exacting final work of art. In an essay about his symbols, McGinness writes that they “have always been the result of reasoned geometry combined with intuitive decisions solved in iterative stages.” This is the language through which McGinness translates the logic of his studio practice.
Here, McGinness asks: What is a drawing? These recent works reveal experimentation between the fine line of truth and artifice. They each contain two drawings: one digital vector illustration printed on paper, and the second, a charcoal sketch responding to and embellishing that prescribed form. The process of draftsmanship, elucidated by the shadows, eraser marks, and scratched lines, suggests an instinctive act of labor and intensity on the part of the artist. To the contrary, McGinness openly acknowledges this element of performance, while remaining earnest in his pursuit of the recorded gesture. Although early iterations in 2020 were more direct tracings of the vector, those in 2022-2023 reveal their outlines in what the artist describes as “honest renderings of symbols that are simultaneously fact and fiction.” In this way, they have evolved to tell the truth about themselves, even if the symbols and texts were created with the purpose of appearing utilitarian or anonymously generated.
Ryan McGinness’ works are in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; New York Public Library, New York, NY; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery; The Taguchi Art Collection, Tokyo; The Charles Saatchi Collection, among many others. McGinness lives and works in New York, New York.
There are a limited number of paperback editions available of McGinness Drawings, which includes essays on art by Ryan McGinness along with more than 200 of his charcoal works since 2021.