quinn mcnichol

Artist Statement

A painting practice creeps beyond the edges of a canvas: its imagery converses with the tangible world, leaning into objects that are sculpted, words written on pages in a quiet book, or particular things arranged in a particular way. 
A body which once turned inward and covered itself carefully slowly unfolds, begins to feel the ground it lives on and flow with the air around it. 
A spirit grows wild, even after it’s been tamed by repeated prayers, sacred names and holy waters.

I listen to folk music that reminds me of my dad, and I read books that recall my mother. News and daydreams and longings for an unattainably perfect future merge with these sounds and words. My medicinal herb garden grows slowly, protected by mugwort and yarrow. Contained inside these parentheses of my life, I make art that wonders how my experiences affect my white/pink body/mind as I move through space to interact with plants and other humans. Through this embodied examination, I engage with the regenerative healing magic that I imagine art to be.


  • Helen O’Toole (Painting + Drawing)
  • Ann Gale (Painting + Drawing)
  • Whitney Lynn (Interdisciplinary Visual Arts)
  • Adair Rounthwaite (Art History)
  • Zhi Lin (Painting + Drawing)
  • David Brody (Painting + Drawing)
  • Philip Govedare (Painting + Drawing)


Read the interview with quinn mcnichol by Krista Schoening.

With vibrant, intuitive color, quinn mcnichol creates painted, collaged and sculpted work inspired by subjects drawn from their life and imagination. In her exuberant use of paint, paper, and fabric we see mcnichol’s investment in the materiality of their media and their belief in the power of material to re-shape the world; paintings spill from their canvases and installations become immersive painterly environments. For mcnichol, the embodied act of making work is an important part of their process. They describe the act of making: “my thoughts arise and they’re in my head, then they move through my body and out of my body and turn into images.” The artist’s body appears in the three related works If all you told was turned to gold, if all you dreamed was new, Concrete world full of souls, and Is it the bridge between worlds that makes you feel alone? While making each of these works mcnichol traced their own body against the canvas. The outline, an indexical mark, creates a physical record of their body on the day that it was traced. The immediacy of this act, and the desire to leave a physical trace, can also be seen in indexical marks throughout history, from handprints outlined on the walls of caves to the imprint that Catholics believe to be the face of Jesus on Veronica’s veil. In fact, the traced image of the body is central to a myth of the origin of painting and drawing, recorded by Pliny the Elder. In that account, a woman invents drawing by tracing her lover’s shadow on the wall to remember him — effectively freezing the image in time and space. However, here we see mcnichol uninterested in objectifying or memorializing the image of another. Rather, she uses these works, in part, as vehicles to explore their own identity, which oscillates between non-binary and feminine. And while the edges of their painted body are fixed in place by the traced line, mcnichol’s process-driven approach to these works and the fluid associations she makes emphasize non-binary ways of being, and an ever-evolving approach to art and life.

— Krista Schoening


quinn mcnichol grew up in Glenside, PA, and earned a BFA in Fine Art from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in 2012. They have participated in programs including the Emerging Artist in Residence (EAR) program at Millersville University, Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI), and the Vermont Studio Center, and they painted murals for the Philadelphia Folk Festival for over 10 years. Being a student and resident with the Mount Gretna School of Art (MGSoA) over several summers was exceptionally influential to their creative practice and discipline. This summer they will be in Shift: an exhibition featuring queer femme and BIPOC voices at the Living Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. They look forward to where their creative life post-graduate school will take them.  


  • 2020 Notes on the Unseen, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Seattle WA
  • 2020 Still Waters Run Deep, Sand Point Gallery, Seattle WA
  • 2020 Things Behind the Sun, Sand Point Gallery, Seattle WA
  • 2019 Future Paradise, The Living Gallery Outpost, New York NY
  • 2019 Plein Air: Paintings & Drawings; Gallery Artists & Alumni of Mount Gretna School of Art, 
  • Lancaster Galleries, Lancaster PA
  • 2018 ///THE\\\JUNGLE///LINE\\\, Studio 34, Philadelphia PA (solo show)   
  • 2017 Vibes, Tattooed Mom, Philadelphia PA
  • 2016 Homebodies: Lancaster, Moira Records, Lancaster PA2015   Tigress Tempest Temptress, Discerning Eye Center for the Arts (DECA), Lancaster PA


  • 2020 Boyer and Elizabeth Bole Gonzales Graduate Award


  • Master of Fine Arts, University of Washington, Seattle, 2021
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design