James W. Perrin

b. Kenton, Tennessee

James Perrin lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee and is represented by Tinney Contemporary in Nashville and Evan Lurie Gallery in Carmel, Indiana. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the U.S., as well as in Venice, Italy. His work was recently included in the Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Chautauqua, NY.  In the Spring of 2018 he will be having a solo exhibition at Tinney Contemporary in Nashville, TN and will be included in the group exhibition at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts entitled Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century.   He is also slated to have a solo show at Hope University in Holland, MI.  In 2015, he was granted the prestigious Joan Mitchell award.


Ph: 731.608.2651   Email:


Gallery Representation  

Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN



Boston University, Boston, MA 1999-2001

Master of Fine Arts in painting


American University, Washington, D.C.  Fall 1998

Study for MFA in Perugia, Italy


Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO 1993-1997

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting


Recent Awards

Joan Mitchell Award 2015


Selected Exhibitions



Solo Exhibition: Tinney Contemporary, Nashville TN

Spring 2018


Group Exhibition: Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century , 2 Venues - 

Frist Center, Nashville, TN

June 22nd - September 16th, 2018

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

November 15th, 2018 - April 28th, 2019


New American Paintings, Issue #136 - June - July 2018



Solo Exhibition: De Pree Gallery, Hope College, Holland, MI

Spring 2020




Group Exhibition: Annual Retrospective

Tinny Contemporary, Nashville, TN


Group Exhibition: The Shadow's Body: Painting's Allegorical Impulse

Watkins College of Art, Nashville TN

September 2017


Group Exhibition: 60th Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art

Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY


Palm Beach Art and Antiques, Palm Beach, FL 

Presented by Evan Lurie Gallery, Carmel IN



Group Exhibition: From Dawn to Dust

The Fortress, Nashville, TN


Group Exhibition: A Decade in the Making 

Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN


Art Hamptons, Bridgehampton, NY 

Presented by Evan Lurie Gallery, Carmel, IN


Art Boca Raton, Boca Raton, FL

Presented by Evan Lurie Gallery, Carmel IN



Solo Exhibition: Observations, Integrations, Pareidolia, and Polysemy.

Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN       



Solo Exhibition

University of Tennessee Knoxville Library, Knoxville TN 



September - February 2014

Group Exhibition: Abstractometry

Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN


Solo Exhibition: Recent Work

Gallery Forty AU, Nashville, TN



Group Exhibition: Scientists and Artists Picture the Intangible

Gallery F, Scarritt Bennett, Nashville, TN



Solo Exhibition: Conglomerate, New Paintings...

Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, TN



Group Exhibition 

Perry Nicole Fine Art, Memphis, TN


Group Exhibition: Biblical Proportions

Blue Genie, Austin, TX


Group Exhibition Curated by Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, TN

Terrazzo, Nashville, TN



Group Exhibition

Perry Nicole Fine Art, Memphis, TN


Group Exhibition: Dialogue 1: Painting

Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, TN


Group Exhibition: Dialogue: Painting

Curated by Zeitgeist Gallery

L & C Tower, Nashville, TN


Group Exhibition: Dialogue: Painting & Photography

Curated by Zeitgeist Gallery,

L & C Tower, Nashville, TN


Group Exhibition

Curated by Zeitgeist Gallery

Radius 10, Nashville, TN




4 Person Group Exhibition: Field Guide

Curated by Zeitgeist Gallery

Vanderbilt University Law School , Nashville, TN



Central South Art Exhibition, Group Exhibition

Tennessee Art League, Nashville, TN


Perry Nicole Fine Art, Memphis, TN

Group Exhibition: The Red Show



Juried Group Exhibition: National Compact Competition

LSU Union Gallery, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA



Solo Exhibition

Freed-Hardeman University Art Gallery, Henderson, TN


Juried Group Exhibition: Scene/Unseen    

Runnels Gallery, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM


Invitational Group Exhibition

Blue Genie Art Industries, Austin, TX


Group Exhibition: Will’s Creek Art Survey

Saville Gallery, Cumberland, MD


Juried Group Exhibition: Central South Art Exhibition

Leu Gallery, Belmont University, Nashville, TN


Invitational Group Exhibition: 9 Ingredients

Edgewater Art Gallery, Orlando, FL



Solo Exhibition

Galleria Perela`, Venice, Italy



MFA Thesis Exhibition

Boston University, 808 Gallery, Boston, MA


Solo Exhibition

Boston University, Open Court Gallery, Boston, MA


Invitational Group Exhibition for Summer Concert Series

Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA




Creative Artists Agency, Nashville TN

Pennacle Bank, Nashville TN

Tennessee Arts Commission

Boston University

Grimaldi Collection, Rome, Italy

-Numerous private collections



Fellowships and Residencies

Artist in Residence

Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson TN, 2004-2006



Awards and Grants

Joan Mitchell Award Recipient 2015

Joan Mitchell Award Nominee 2014

Rolf Singerman Award, Allegany Arts Council, Cumberland, MD

Herman Davis Bradely Memorial Award, Tennessee Art League

Joan Mitchell MFA Award Nominee 2001

Constatin Alajavov Scholarship

Boston University Merit Scholarship

Kansas City Art Institute Scholarship




New American Paintings #136


Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century

Locate Arts


Native Magazine

Featured Artist

3 Pages in print



Southern Artist Spotlight



200 Words: James Perrin at Tinney Contemporary


Nashville Arts Magazine

Present Tense.  3 pages in print


Artist's Forum

Frist Center, Nashville, TN


Abstractometry: Critic's pic of the week.


Studio Visit: James Perrin


Pick of the Day: Figure 1: Scientists and Artists Picture the Intangible and Panel Discussion at gallery F.


Pick of the Week: Works by James Perrin.


Nashville Association of Art Dealers- Cover image of Museum and Gallery Guide, Nashville, TN. 2010




Painting is a primordial and ancient form of communication.  The elemental materials used in prehistoric paintings - pigments, oil, and water - are still being used today.  A painting consists of a language system designed by the artist using various modes of instinctual sensory expression. This visual and tactile expression is then experienced by the viewer through instinctual sensory perception. Both the modality of communication and the medium are two aspects of painting enabling a piece of artwork from an earlier time period to resonate in a later time period; reasons why a cave painting made 35,000 years ago still speaks to us today.                                                                                           

The viewer’s experience is based on the language the artwork generates within his/herself, through the physical experience of seeing the tactile image, creating a conversation of emotional, spiritual, and intellectual interactions in the viewer’s consciousness. The language initiated by the artist is transferred to the viewer - a conversation not only with the artist, but one the viewer has with his/herself apart from the artist - forming a new language based on the personal paradigm of the viewer.

An artist creates this system of language over a period of time, with his/her hands.  A painting transfers a time based, creative, personal, and communicative experience into a condensed, immediate, visual experience. The language leaves a definitive, time-restricted state. 

If a work can embody a form of beauty as well as a form of ugliness, a form of angst as well as a form of calm, a form of chaos as well as one of order, if it can hold the contradictions that accompany life, it can affect the viewers’ experience to be one of holistic conversation within themselves based on areas of universal human experience. 

My work deals with the visual language contained within a created object – a painting which functions as a tactile image constructed of physical material with suggestions of depth and flatness, using various pictorial constructions originating from a reaction of how we see and experience real space, objects, matter, and life, under the influence of time.  

 I approach painting as a self-contained language system using polysemic image suggestions, creating fluctuating events of pareidolia within the viewer’s consciousness.  I am interested in painting as a mode of communication that transverses time, cultures, and fixed languages - as a sensory-communicative experience between artist and viewer.

 My work can be described as a combination of several methods of painting, incorporating different ideas, frameworks, and strategies. I focus on the expressiveness and possibilities contained in the materials of paint and pictorial construction. My latest work incorporates images and ideas derived from retail interiors, Caribbean beaches, fashion, CT scans, medical photographs, passages from paintings by Giotto, Masaccio, Enguerrand Quarton, and Fra Angelico, segments from my previous work, as well as photos from my daily life.