My work uses bold, bright color and collage-style imagery to examine and loosen the dialogue about race, culture and gender. My paintings are typically large, almost mural-like and are largely influenced by the merging of celebrity news reports, politicians, American culture and the drama of everyday life.
My earlier work was more narrative driven, in which I would focus on one particular story or experience, but I’ve become more interested in mixing disjointed narratives and abstraction, and finding interesting ways to obscure any possible story that can be assumed when viewing my work. I want the work to provoke the viewer to formulate their own ideas and answer any questions themselves surrounding the different subjects that I touch in my work.
My artistic practice has evolved to be more timely and reflective of the world we are currently living in. In one day, I may read the paper, get on the internet and browse through you tube, my facebook timeline, look at twitter, my instagram, watch the news, watch bravo, vh1, read gossip blogs, check my email 20 times, listen to music, and do this all while talking on the phone and texting, so it has now become impossible for me not to cover a multitude of topics. I’m living in an age of information overload. Therefore, I have expanded my artistic practice to mix, combine, and mash up narratives and ideas. And I currently use the concept of the “mash up” as a framework to pull inspiration from current events and contemporary culture to create visibly chaotic paintings that bring together seemingly disparate subjects.
When Nina Chanel Abney graduated from college in 2004, there weren't a lot of great job prospects in Chicago on the horizon. She ended up taking a job at the Ford Motor Co. working on the assembly line until a friend of hers encouraged her to quit and explore graduate school. The following year, she was accepted at the Parson's School of Design's MFA program and was immediately embraced by the art world.
Her first big break came as an invitation to be the youngest artist in Don and Mera Rubell's historic exhibition, 30 Americans, followed by a feature article in W Magazine. Shortly thereafter, her work was acquired by the Brooklyn Museum and separately by the Brooklyn Museums director, Arnold Lehman. Later that year, she appeared in the pages of Glamour Magazine in an article showcasing the 10 most popular women artists. She has been on the cover of Paper Magazine and most recently, in Elle Magazine as one of the "12 Most Daring, Unexpected, and Exciting Women in Art Now". Her work has been shown at the Chrysler Museum, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Nassau County Museum. She's always had an interest in public projects and in the past few years she's done various murals including a 100 ft. long mural in Sao Paulo coinciding with the biennale, as well as a 30 ft. long mural in Chicago at Monique Meloche Gallery. This past summer, she was in Africa's Out! at Barbara Gladstone Gallery. Nina collaborated with Macy's in July to produce a 120 ft. long mural that spanned throughout the windows of Herald Sq. She also completed a basketball court in Memphis, TN. In 2017, she will have her first museum solo exhibition containing more than 50 works, curated by Marshall Price, at the Nasher Museum and travel around the country.