Danielle Mckinney’s (b. 1981) interior scenes capture moments of human introspection and intimacy with painterly lyricism. Mckinney builds her compositions from an all-black canvas, resulting in scenes emerging from darkness in chiaroscuro fashion. Like dioramas, these domestic spaces are carefully composed; the artist constructs her interiors with sourced material from magazines or social media. The atmospheric compositions are interspersed with shimmering highlights of colour: the faint glow of a lit cigarette, held by protagonists with brightly coloured lips and fiercely painted fingernails. The figures, exclusively Black and female, are seen cherishing moments of solitude: reading, smoking, or simply lost in contemplation. As a trained photographer, Mckinney arranges her subjects cinematographically, with an astute awareness of the gaze and its political power. Her figures command the space in which they find themselves, opening opportunities for endless narrative strands and self-exploration.

Danielle Mckinney’s canvases don’t simply ask to be looked upon. They ask viewers to breathe alongside them, inviting us to inhale and exhale in rhythm with their languid figures and supple layers of paint. Their brushstrokes seem to breathe, too: They are thick yet soft, applied with a looseness and freedom that elicits a meditative air of unburdening. Set in placid interiors, Mckinney’s paintings feature Black women stealing moments of quietude and interiority that solicit a similar stillness from viewers as we slip into the shadows of the canvas.

Z. Hopkins, ‘In Danielle Mckinney's Lyrical Paintings, Black Women Reclaim Domestic Space,’ in Artsy, 31 October 2022

Image: Table for Two, 2023, oil on linen, 61 x 45.7 cm.; 24 x 18 in. Photo: Nik Massey




Born in Montgomery, USA


BFA, Atlanta College of Arts


MFA, Parsons School of Design, New York

Lives and works in Jersey City


Blenheim Art Foundation, Oxfordshire

Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Center for Curatorial Studies and Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson

Columbus Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Longlati Foundation, Shanghai

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

New Orleans Museum of Art

Pérez Art Museum Miami

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Turin

Speed Art Museum, Louisville

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York



Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

About a moment – in a moment
Kunsthal n, Copenhagen

Quiet Storm
Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York

Fly on the Wall
Fondazione Re Rebaudengo, Turin


Night Gallery, Los Angeles


Golden Hour
Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York


Midnight Oil
Marianne Boesky Gallery, Aspen

Smoke and Mirrors
Night Gallery, Los Angeles

Saw My Shadow
Fortnight Institute, New York



When We See Us
Kunstmuseum Basel

On Paper
Galerie Max Hetzler, Paris


Pictures Girls Make”: Portraitures
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

PRESENT '23: Building the Scantland Collection

Columbus Museum of Art

Presence in the Pause: Interiority and its Radical Immanence
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha

So let us all be citizens too, curated by Ebony L. Haynes
David Zwirner, London

Rear View
LGDR, New York

Talk of the Town: A Dallas Museum of Art Pop-Up Exhibition curated, by Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Fair and NorthPark Center


A Different Now is Close Enough to Exhale on You, curated by Bonaventure Ndikung
Goodman Gallery, Cape Town

When We See Us: A Century of Black Figuration in Painting
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town

In Our Time: Selections from the Singer Collection, curated by Allison Glenn
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

The Contemporary Austin

Heroic Bodies
Rudolph Tegners Museum and Statue Park, Dronningmølle

Uncanny Interiors

Nicola Vassell Gallery, New York

Black Melancholia, curated by Nana Adusei-Poku
Center for Curatorial Studies and Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson

Women Painting Women
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami


Reflections: Part 1: Female Figures by Women Artists
Workplace Gallery, New Castle

Black Bodies, White Spaces: Invisibility and Hypervisibility, curated by Aindrea Emelife
Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas

My Secret Garden
Asia Art Center, Taipei

and I will wear you in my heart of heart
Flag Art Foundation, New York

The Lonely Ones, curated by Katelyn Eichwald
Fortnight Institute, New York

Friend Zone, curated by Vaughn Spann
Half Gallery, New York

Selected Press

The Guardian April 2024

Download PDF

The New York Times Style Magazine February 2024

Download PDF

Financial Times January 2023

Download PDF

Hyperallergic January 2023

Download PDF

Vogue September 2022

Download PDF

Elephant June 2021

Download PDF

Juxtapoz May 2021

Download PDF

Mousse Magazine May 2021

Download PDF