R.H. Quaytman

Born 1961
Hometown Boston, MA
Lives and Works New York, NY
Education
Rome Prize Fellowship, American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy, 2001
Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques, Paris, France, 1989
Postgraduate Program Painting, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, 1984
BA Painting, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, NY, 1983
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, MA,1982

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland

CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts

Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Poland

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Tate Modern, London

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Zabludowicz Collection, London

Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY

Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York, NY

Through her meticulous and systematic practice, Quaytman challenges historically determined assumptions about the relationship between viewer and painting, and questions painting’s autonomy as a means of visual communication by foregrounding, within her work, the context of its reception. Quaytman’s paintings, at once pictorially abstract and conceptually resonant, reference a range of sources, including her own family history, phenomenology, social relationships, and the conventions of modernist painting. Always working on wood panels with predetermined proportions, Quaytman employs a muted palette and a range of formal techniques such as screenprinting, trompe l’oeil, and even the application of diamond dust to the work’s surface to create deceptively straightforward and visually evocative compositions. Quaytman has also displayed her paintings on storage racks placed within the exhibition space, pointing to the eventual passage into obscurity of most aesthetic objects as they make space for others.


Since 2001, she has organized her paintings into “chapters,” each of which is conceptualized around a particular exhibition and evolves from a specific formal concept. For the 2008–09 grouping Chapter 12: iamb, for example, she took as her starting point the motif of a painting lit by a lamp, which has the potential to both illuminate and create blind spots through its reflection. The decision to imitate the structure of a book in her work reflects Quaytman’s belief that images and their meanings are inherently contingent. The meaning of each painting is dependent not only on the person standing before it but also on the image next to it. Likewise, each chapter is informed by those that came before. In 2011, Quaytman made this approach literal with the publication of the artist’s book Spine, a catalogue raisonné of sorts in which she revisited the twenty chapters that make up her preceding decade’s output. In Quaytman’s works, meaning is fluid, traditional categories are perpetually destabilized, and perspective is subject to multiple shifts. Her paintings establish their own visual lexicon without jettisoning existing systems of signification.


Quaytman has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, State University of New York,  and Kunsthalle Basel,  among other venues. Her work has also been shown in the Łódź Biennial in Poland, the Whitney Biennial, and the Venice Biennale. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Queens Museum in New York, SculptureCenter in New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.


Courtesy of the Guggenheim Museum

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