Todd McKie: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Look at Art Again
March 29 – April 20 at Gallery NAGA
April begins with new paintings by Todd McKie, whose pared down figures presented in entertaining situations, are actually quite complicated. These highly developed plots, brimming with McKie’s dry wit, are set against flat, colorful backgrounds.
Todd McKie: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Look at Art Again runs from March 29 through April 20. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, March 29 from 6 to 8 pm. Images of the works in the show can be seen at gallerynaga.com.
Todd McKie’s new paintings vibrate with color and vivacity. The figures and objects, though painted in a flat style, explode off the wall. “I’ve been enjoying purple and acid green lately,” McKie remarks. The painting titled “And the Winner Is . . . ” depicts a blue figure with green shoes, and one finished arm. The other arm points to a colored glass object teetering on a pillow, which rests on a table. The character looks at the viewer, offering up this beautiful object.
The color relationships are complex and seemingly irrational, but they are successful. There is a juxtaposition of sharp, distinct figures and symbols against cloudy, abstracted backgrounds. His medium of choice is flashe, a French matte acrylic paint. The result of this medium creates the look of rubbed or erased surface textures in the background, which alludes to the idea of confusion and disarray. In pieces like “A Summer Evening” and “Sweet Dream” the atmosphere has a quiet steadiness, with only subtle fluctuations that catch the eye. “Human Nature” and “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” host more exuberant and lively scenes that are more common of McKie’s work.
There’s a mellowness, or quietness, about the new work that wasn’t present in the past. The situations are less frantic and chaotic and there exists an inner stillness to the figures. Even when there’s a lot going on around the protagonists, they seem less threatened and more accepting of the strange situations they find themselves in.