Paul Mullins

Print print



Born: 1970, Charleston, WV


1994 Ohio University, Athens, OH; MFA, Painting & Drawing
1992 Marshall University, Huntington, WV; BFA, Painting & Drawing

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2011 "For Here or To Go," Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco, CA
2010 “If it's All the Same T' You,” Collette Blanchard Gallery, New York, NY
2007 "Is Heaven Any Sweeter," Heather Marx Gallery, San Francisco, CA
"Some Other Day in the Garden," Nathan Larramendy Gallery, Ojai, CA
2004 “Golden Countenance,” Heather Marx Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2003 “Good Lovin',” lyonswiergallery, New York, NY
“Bouquet,” Aron Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL
“Come an' Git your Love,” Ambrosino Gallery, Miami, FL
2002 “Long Cut,” -scope New York, The Gershwin Hotel, New York, NY
2001 “ 'Rasslin',” Ambrosino Gallery, Miami, FL
“Has-Been/Never-Was,” Lyonswier Packer Gallery, New York, NY
2000 “The Manly Art,” Michael Berger Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
“A Bigger Man's Swagger,” Lyonswier Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL
Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL
1999 The Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, D.C.

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2011 “Sea Change: The 10th Anniversary Exhibition,” Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco, CA
2010 “Secret Drawings,” Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, CA
2008 “Reconciling America: Miraculous Encounters with the Mundane,” San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2007 “Drawings: Visions, Surfaces, and Beyond,” Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA
2006 “Animal Magnetism,” Cuchifritos, New York, NY (curated by Raul Zamudio)
“Strictly Graphite,” College of Marin Art Gallery, Kentfield, CA (curated by
Andrea Antonaccio and Amy Charles)
2005 “Pool Party,” Nathan Larramendy Gallery, Ojai, CA
2004 “New Tales to Tell: West Coast Narrative Art,” San Luis Obispo Art Center,
San Luis Obispo, CA
“Fresh: Works on Paper,” (5th Anniversary Exhibition), James Kelly Contemporary,
Santa Fe, NM
“manly (cubed),” gescheidle, Chicago, IL
-scope New York, Hotel Gansevoort, New York, NY
2003 “The Squared Circle: Boxing in Contemporary Art,” Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
-scope Miami, TownHouse Hotel, Miami Beach, FL
“Exhibition Game,” San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA
“Drawing Conclusions,” Buena Vista Building, Miami, FL (curated by Nina Arias)
2002 “There Goes My Hero,” Newcastle, England
“The Perception of Appearance,” Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA
“Why Don't We do it in the Road?”, Ambrosino Gallery, Miami, FL
2001 “There Goes My Hero,” Beacon Street Gallery, Chicago, IL
Aron Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL
lyonswiergallery, New York, NY
“Art Miami,” Ambrosino Gallery, Miami Beach, FL
2000 “Carnival Futura 2000,” (Benefit hosted by New Art Examiner), Chicago, IL
“Art Miami,” Ambrosino Gallery, Miami Beach, FL
Lyonswier Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL
1999 “The Flat Files,” Pierogi 2000, Brooklyn, NY
“Debardeur: Labor Wearing Images,” NFA Space, Chicago, IL
“Free and Open to the Public,” Art Center/South Florida, Miami Beach, FL
“The Bug Show,” Aron Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL
“There's No "I" in Team,” NFA Space, Chicago, IL
“Caveat Emptor,” Ambrosino Gallery, Miami, FL
“Art Miami,” Ambrosino Gallery, Miami Beach, FL

Honors and Awards:

2000 Artists Fellowship, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago, IL
1999-98 CAVA Fellowship, National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Miami, FL
1999 Artists Fellowship, Finalist Award, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago, IL
1998 Project Grant, Community Arts Assistance Program, Chicago, IL

Selected Collections:
Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
Wessel + O'Connor, Brooklyn, NY
John Berendt, New York, NY
Robert Mailer Anderson, San Francisco, CA

Selected Bibliography:

2007 Beil, Kim, “Paul Mullins: ‘Some Other Day in the Garden’ at Nathan Larramendy Gallery,”
art ltd., November, p. 19
Landrigan, Marissa, “Painting in a vacuum,” Ventura County Reporter, September 13
Bing, Alison, “Watch This Space,” 7x7 Magazine, May, p. 108
Bing, Alison, “Paul Mullins at Heather Marx Gallery,” Artweek, May, p. 13
Leaverton, Michael, “Too Cute,” SF Weekly, January 31, p. 23
Huston, Johnny Ray, “Is Heaven Any Sweeter,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, January 31,
p. 20-21
2005 Orden, Abraham, “Aperto San Francisco,” Flash Art, July-September, p. 71
“All Mah Dreams Came True Last Nite” (cover image), Flaunt, Issue 61
2004 Junker, Howard (Editor), “Take a Load Off Baby” and “Adventures/Escapades” (reproductions), ZYZZYVA, Winter, Vol. XX No. 3, p. 123-4
Baker, Kenneth, “Bubbling Over in Talent,” (City Focus: San Francisco), ARTnews, September, p. 101
Goldstein, Melissa, “Urban Cowboy,” 7x7 Magazine, September, p. 61
“Out & About,” Bay Area Reporter, September 2, p. 37
Orden, Abraham, “San Francisco Days,” artnet magazine, October 8
“Hold On Loosely” (reproduction), San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook, October 3,
p. 64
Pelfrey, Bob, “New Tales: West Coast artists find adventure in 'art-as-narrative' theme,” New Times San Luis Obispo, May 27, p. 20
2003 Ocana, Damarys, “Art Seen/Getting' down on the farm,” Street Miami, March 7
Sommereyns, Omar, “Come an Git yer Love,” Miami Hurricane, March 7
2001 Ocana, Damarys, “Redneck Musings,” Street Miami, May 4
Cassidy, Victor, “Gotham Gets a Gallery,” Magazine, January 23
2000 Winn, Alice, “The Man Show,” Pittsburgh City Paper, November 15
Shearing, Graham, “The Brute in Art,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, December 1
Thomas, Mary, “ 'The Manly Art' Makes Strong Showing,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
October 28
O'Sullivan, Michael, “Visual Blast at the Corcoran,” Washington Post, January 14
1999 Brunetti, John, “Debardeur: Labor Wearing Images,” New Art Examiner, October
Moreno, Gean, “Free and Open to the Public,” New Art Examiner, September
Varma-White, Kavita, “Where the Art Is: Mera and Don Rubell Learn To Experience Their Collection In A Whole New Way,” Miami Metro, May
Turner, Elisa, “Artists Fellowship Program Seeks to Refine its Approach,” The Miami Herald, April 1
1995 Twardy, Chuck, “Variegated Views,” Raleigh News & Observer, May 26
Print print

Press Release


OCTOBER 29 – DECEMBER 17, 2011

Opening reception for the artist: Saturday October 29, 5:00 – 7:00PM

For more information, contact Steve Zavattero
Phone: 415.627.9111/e-mail:


Marx & Zavattero are proud to present For Here or To Go, a solo exhibition of new paintings by San Francisco artist Paul Mullins. Negotiating a visceral, manly terrain and revealing a masculinity that is tender and often at odds with itself, this exhibition promises highly personal imagery that is unexpected, as it wrestles with issues of social class and place.

Born and raised in West Virginia, Mullins has spent the past two decades creating seductive paintings and drawings that grapple with a male identity deeply shaped by his southern cultural roots. By using the figurative, representational, painted language as his primary avenue of expression, Mullins conveys a degree of gentleness toward his subject matter. His hazy loose fragmented memories – a football player’s twisting torso, a buxom smooching woman, wrestling boots, trailer parks, mustachioed men – are represented with confident, frosting-like strokes in a feminine palette of pinks, pale blues, whites, and greens. Mullins’ fleshy images take on the beauty and drama of a Fragonard and upend the macho stereotype of the artist’s upbringing and the characters he paints. One of the most beguiling characteristics of his work is this attempt to reconcile his histories – the boy he was, and the man he has become – a painter and professor of fine art.

Mullins’ series of new large Lip Tattoo paintings, raw close-ups of men and women pulling their bottom lips open, revealing pithy text tattooed on the inside of their mouths, are a perfect illustration of this dynamic. His depiction of this subculture speaks to the artist’s ongoing fascination with social class and the notion of place. “So much of what I do is about ‘home’, or the fantasy of reconciling the rural and the urban, intellectual and the callow, the manly and the civilized,” Mullins explains, concluding, “the figures, or rather, the people in my work are representative of anonymous, countless types – the sort I knew. Can I have the quality of painting’s best language and nail that sensation these people, their lives, that place emit – together in a work?”

Mullins has exhibited extensively, with solo shows at Nathan Larramendy Gallery, Ojai, CA; Ambrosino Gallery, Miami, FL; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Aaron Packer Gallery, Chicago, IL; and lyonswiergallery, New York, NY. Group exhibitions include Sea Change: The 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Marx & Zavattero; The Squared Circle: Boxing in Contemporary Art, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; The Perception of Appearance, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; and Drawings: Visions, Surfaces, and Beyond, Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, among many others. His work has been reviewed or featured in ARTnews, Flash Art, 7x7 Magazine, Flaunt, art ltd., the Miami Herald, the New Art Examiner, the Washington Post,, and other publications. His work is held in several private and public collections, most notably the Rubell Family Collection. Mullins received his MFA from Ohio University, his BFA from Marshall University, and is currently a Professor of Art at San Francisco State University.

My work constitutes a decade and a half of painting and drawing that allows for any and all imagery referencing rural American masculinity. With sustained looking, though, I think the Super-Big-Gulp of Testosterone represented in the work only reveals the longstanding principle concern – which is that of social class. The things I make can’t help but contain an aroma of undying efforts made at surmounting the disadvantage of both geographic and social distances. They speak not only of someone from modest Any-town USA, raised on traditional manhood codes and overfed cinematic ass-kicking; but also of the endless tussle with the feelings of inferiority that would likely beleaguer anyone who seeks participation in an elite cultural arena – one that has sophistication and wealth as its base.

How to speak of what I know and what I’m interested in – and have it “hang” with that which is accepted as quality, relevant contemporary art?

If painted and presented in a sophisticated, art-initiated manner, can I interest a viewer in my immoderation – a fantasy of reconciling the rural and the urban, intellectual and the callow, the manly and the civilized, and so on?

  • For inquiries, please email Heather Marx Art Advisory at H[at]HMxAA[dot]com