McArthur Binion, ‘MAB:1947: Etching Study’, 2017, Headlands Center for the Arts: Benefit Auction 2017

McArthur Binion is a Mississippi-born, Chicago-based painter. Inspired by the scale and materiality of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, he developed a pared-down visual language that employs strong graphic elements, circles and grids. He makes his marks with a monotonous, task-based approach that speaks to his personal history of manual labor. This history is also explored through his use of personal ephemera, images of his birth certificate, and hand-written phonebook, on which he paints. Binion’s paintings are largely symbolic and achieve an expressive resonance that defies the reductive materialism of minimalism. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C. The artist is represented by Galerie Lelong in New York and Kavi Gupta in Chicago, Illinois.
–Courtesy of Headlands Center for the Arts

Framing courtesy of The Painters Place

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Paulson Fontaine Press

About McArthur Binion

For the past 40 years, McArthur Binion, who describes himself as a “Rural Modernist,” has been producing unconventional, deeply autobiographical abstract compositions, through which he has been complicating and broadening the traditional idioms of abstraction and Modernism. As he describes: “My work begins at the crossroads—at the intersection of Bebop improvisation and Abstract Expressionism.” Eschewing brushes and paint, Binion uses oil stick, crayon, and, more recently, laser-printed images to create his lushly textured and colored, geometrically patterned works. They are formed out of an unlikely confluence of influences, including such Modernist masters as Kasimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and Wifredo Lam, as well as his own Southern African-American heritage, reflected in his mother’s quilts, West African textiles, and the rhythms of black music, language, and literature. Labor and simplicity ground Binion’s practice and his laconic, richly personal compositions.

American , b. 1946, Macon, Mississipi, based in Chicago, Illinois