Skip to main content
Almine Rech


Feb 15, 2024 — Jan 1, 2025 | Tampa Museum of Art, FL, US

In a recent interview, artist Vaughn Spann (American, b. 1992) remarked, “Abstraction maps reality.” The four monumental paintings on view, all from the series Marked Men, represent the convergence of abstraction and figuration in Spann’s art. Rendered as a grid, each panel features a prominent ‘X’ at the center of the composition. Vibrant paint—from sapphire to sky blue, crimson red, fire orange, and marigold yellow, to blush pink and emerald green—emphasize Spann’s lattice of kaleidoscopic color. A combination of pigment and housepaint, the artist works the surface of the painting on the floor of his studio, building texture withing the picture plane, and then completes the work upright on the wall.

The X serves as a stand-in for the body and represents both personal and collective experiences. Created in a variety of hues and form, the X ranges from prominently visible to camouflaged or hidden. In Spann’s paintings, the X serves as a portrait of the everyman who has been targeted in racial profiling. It reflects self as well as the unknown or anonymous person. In discussing the inspiration for the Marked Men series, Spann shared: “I was stopped and frisked for the first time while I was an undergrad student…I was walking home from studying at a friend’s house. Cops pulled me over. Four other cop cars came by. They put me against a gate, and my hands are up, split. That same gesture echoes the X. And, for me, that’s such a symbolic form, and so powerful to this contemporary moment.”

Press release

  • read or download in English

Vaughn Spann (American, b. 1992), Within the Margins of Eternity, 2023
Polymer paint and mixed media on wood panel
120 x 120 inches

Courtesy the artist & David Castillo, Miami