Chris Watts: When There is No Sun

12 September - 3 October 2020

NEW YORK, NY — Monica King Contemporary is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in New York City of Chris Watts, When There is No Sun, from September 12 through October 3, 2020. When There is No Sun features new mixed media works by Watts that investigate and revise existing narratives, both personal and social, aiming to disrupt established perceptions so that new ones may emerge.


Watts describes his abstract compositions as windows through which distinctions between objective reality and constructed representations are blurred. The bodily is evoked through Watts’ use of diaphanous textiles, such as poly-chiffon and silk, which create semi-opaque surfaces that possess what the artist describes as “an embodied vulnerability.” Watts’ works question the way in which society thinks about the effects and materiality of racialized skin on display. Like skin, the works appears porous and breathable as light decelerates as it passes through the surfaces. This materiality is amplified in Watts’ works installed on black walls, the painted surface behind his work being integral to how the work is perceived.

Simultaneously translucent and nebulous, there is an atmospheric tension in Watts’ work that goes beyond the surface, bringing up notions of visibility, invisibility and disappearance. Throughout this body of work, Watts examines the black narrative in order to question representation and calls for a reconsideration what constitutes the terms of the visible.


The gallery will host a preview open house with the artist on Saturday, September 12th from 11 AM – 6 PM.


Chris Watts (b. 1984)
Watts is a multidisciplinary artist who, through the transfiguration of painting, drawing, video, and installation, interrogates social and personal narratives. This interrogation is not to simply supplement a new narrative, but to create a project of disruption. Watts’ work has been exhibited at institutions including the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI; Knockdown Center, Queens, NY; Davidson College, Davidson, NC; Goodyear Arts, Charlotte, NC; Winston Salem State University, NC; Greensboro College, NC; High Point University, NC; and the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France. Watts has held residencies with the Marek Maria Pienkowski Foundation, Chelm, Poland (2019); the McColl Center for Art + Innovation; Charlotte, NC (2019 and 2010); Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center, New York, (2018); and the Lower Manhattan Culture Council Workspace Program, New York, NY (2016-2017). He participated as a Fellow in the Art & Law Program at Cornell University, NY (2018) and was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Scholarship in 2014. He has studied at the College of Arts + Architecture at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte and at the Yale University School of Art. Watts shares his time between New York and North Carolina. Watts is a featured artist in the upcoming documentary film, Beginning of the End, directed by Kelcey Edwards, and from the Emmy-nominated producer Debi Wisch (The Price of Everything), currently in post-production.



Monica King Contemporary was opened by gallerist Monica King (MA Art History, Washington University in St. Louis) in fall of 2019 at 39 Lispenard Street in Tribeca. The gallery program, headed by the 17- year art world veteran (formerly with Pace Gallery and Paul Kasmin Gallery, among others) is dedicated to an unwavering vision of equally supporting emerging, mid-career, and established artists in a manner that both builds and continues to nourish individual artist careers; encourages collectors from all walks of life to approach art with an unmistakable sense of curiosity and joy; and celebrates the vital contribution that contemporary art brings to our collective society and to each of our individual souls. Since opening last September, Monica King Contemporary has been featured in Artforum, Artnet, ARTnews, the Art Newspaper, the Observer, and Whitewall among others.


Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11 AM to 5 PM and by private appointment. For inquiries, information, and private appointments please contact us at For press images, please see media contact below.



Leily Soleimani |
Sarah Brown McLeod |