Joseph McNamara Press Release

Joseph McNamara
In Actuality
Feb 5 – 27, 2021 at Gallery NAGA

Gallery NAGA is pleased to present our second major exhibition of paintings by Joseph McNamara.

Joseph McNamara: In Actuality will open to the public on Friday, February 5.  Due to Covid-19 precautions, there will be no public reception for the artist.  Gallery NAGA’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 5, with no appointment necessary.

Joseph McNamara is a New York-based, realist painter whose work–often large-scale– is centered on paintings of the industrial landscape and his relationship to it.  His paintings are painstakingly detailed and can take months and even years, to complete.  McNamara uses photographs as aids, however, the paintings are not “photo-realistic”:  each painting strays away from a strict accounting of the subject matter and takes on a life of its own.

McNamara has been based in New York since 1972 when he graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art.  Never comfortable with the world of galleries, McNamara has largely flown under the radar, his work mostly found in private collections.  This exhibition will include paintings McNamara finished in the last three years.

McNamara chooses to work with imagery that carries iconic power.  He sometimes locates his subject matter with an arranged plane trip, sometimes an unplanned trespass on a construction site nearby, and everything in between.  The Atomic Sphinx (Portrait of Mark Tansey) depicts two nuclear propulsion aircraft engines retired in a desert parking lot in Idaho.  Many of his works include items that have been abandoned, unfinished or are waiting to be repurposed or rebuilt.  McNamara captures the disarray and chaos and controls it with the painterly precision of a surgeon.

We don’t always know where we are located in McNamara’s work, but it doesn’t matter.  We feel the temperature and air as if we were in a strip mall parking lot on a summer day or in the midst of a dusty construction site in the hot sun–they fully transport us.

Images of all work on exhibition can be seen at