Todd McKie: Pardon Me for Painting
May 3 – June 1 at Gallery NAGA
May begins with new paintings by Todd McKie, whose simple figures presented in entertaining–sometimes hilarious–situations are actually quite complicated. These highly developed narratives set against colorful and active backgrounds brim with McKie’s dry wit.
Todd McKie: Pardon Me for Painting runs from May 3 through June 1. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, May 3 from 6 to 8 pm.
McKie’s mostly solitary figures, reflecting his interest in tribal art and elemental forms, are anything but straightforward. Some, just outlines of a figure or a head, appear drawn by a child’s hand. The lines are irregular and meander and often looked scrubbed or scratched out. That’s part of the works’ charm. These scenes are actually laboriously developed and calculated and reward prolonged engagement.
Not all of McKie’s figures are human this time around. In The Venus Biennale, three museum pedestals march across the picture plane holding Brancusi-like sculptures. In the background, an alien contemplates its art fair experience while its spaceship hovers in the distance.
The color relationships, complex and seemingly irrational, juxtapose sharp distinct symbols with cloudy, abstracted backgrounds. His medium of choice is flashe, a French matte acrylic paint. This medium lends itself to the idea of disarray by creating a blurred, soft effect to the surfaces. The paintings look velvety, but you still can’t touch!
There’s a mellowness, or sense of quiet about the new work that wasn’t present in the past. The situations are less frantic and chaotic, and the figures seem to possess an inner stillness. Even when there’s a lot going on around the protagonists, they seem less threatened and more comfortable in the strange situations they find themselves in.