Stay Awhile: a Nathan Cordero Show

Nathan Cordero’s work is best understood in the context of San Francisco’s Mission School of artists—most notably Barry McGee, Chris Johanson, Alicia McCarthy and the late Margaret Kilgallen—that gained international acclaim in the 1990s for a kind of rough and tumble urban style. Cordero’s work, like theirs, has elements of graffiti and hobo art, frequently uses snippets of text, and is representational, offering pictures of the everyday world. In addition, he uses the most mundane materials to make art—bits of torn plywood found on the street and household detritus, an aesthetic that is of the impoverished outsider in juxtaposition to American middle-class niceties. The Mission School artists were mostly associated with the San Francisco Art Institute, whereas Cordero did not attend art school, and was self-taught, except for a mentorship with the late Sacramento painter Troy Dalton for whom he was studio assistant.

Nathan Cordero was born in Woodland, California in 1975, and except for a brief sojourn in New York, spent his adult life in and around Sacramento. In 2008 Nathan received the Visions of the New California Award, granting him a one month residency at the prestigious Djerassi Resident Artist Program in Woodside, California. He had one person shows at both the Kondos Gallery at Sacramento City College, and the Nelson Gallery at UC Davis, and participated in many other exhibitions, including at the Di Rosa Preserve in Napa, Johansson Projects in Oakland, and Warehouse Gallery in Syracuse, New York. Nathan was a resident artist at Verge from 2010 to 2014. He passed away tragically in 2018 at the age of 43.