Born in Colorado in 1978, Los Angeles-based Mabry has quickly established himself as a powerful young voice on the West Coast art scene with an impressive and critically acclaimed body of work that primarily includes sculpture and work on paper. Mabry was formally trained as a ceramicist and his large-scale sculptures are cast from clay models and found objects; though the scale of Mabry’s work is often monumental, the intimacy of the artist’s hand is always present.
Drawing inspiration from a variety of sources including archaeology, Dadaism, surrealism and minimalism, Mabry purposefully embraces different stylistic associations and makes references across the art historical timeline; in his own words, he “crashes” multiple aesthetics together. Mabry’s unique voice is borne out of his unorthodox approach to this convergence of cultures, not unlike many of his artistic forebears in Los Angeles who share his interest in the uncanny and unexpected.
His work has most recently included reproductions of Native American, Pre-Columbian and African art totems that he places on bases derived from Minimalist sculpture. With the keen insight of a cultural anthropologist, his practice centers on a critique of the tradition of artistic appropriation of “primitive” objects pervasive in the work of modern and contemporary masters. What emerges, then, is an amalgam of Mabry’s own making, a narrative extrapolated from historical sources that paves a path firmly situated in the context of the 21st century.
Nathan Mabry received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous institutions including: the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla. His work has recently appeared in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla; the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton; the Las Vegas Art Museum; the 176 Zabludowicz Collection, London, England; and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas.
Nathan Mabry lives and works in Los Angeles.