Ann Arbor Weather:
Tuesday October 24, 2017
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Print Comment E-mail

Charles McGee at Eighty-Five

 

continued

portraits painted in the 1950s to huge enamel paintings done this year. It seems a fitting epigraph to his work, since most of the pieces explode in violent zigzags of paint and operate on some level of abstraction--an exercise in choosing what to see.

McGee's most recognizable works are the frenzied paintings and collages he's been making since the 1980s. Although the paintings are highly abstract, with huge snakelike squiggles and a palette that alternates dizzyingly between neutral colors and electric primaries, the busy splashes often dance around human figures. The people in these paintings are abstract as well, usually just stark silhouettes with large heads and skinny limbs. Their pointy-fingered hands and sharp elbows, arranged hieroglyphically, suggest urgency, but it's hard to tell whether they're dancing or running. Their faces are generally blank, but some have wild eyes and huge, toothy grins that look far more manic than happy.

Several depict Noah's Ark, but without the usual calm brown boat and sunny panorama of zoo animals. Instead, human limbs tangle with snakes and squiggles. Black and white jumbles with splotches of brightly colored enamel float in space. In one piece, a purple-spotted giraffe is the only recognizable non-snake animal. Although a couple paintings have "celebration" in the title, they seem more ecstatic than joyful. The flood of abstraction strands any sense of security, upturning the biblical story and clouding easy explanations. Some are cut out of metal, 2-D sculptures that discard even the refuge of rectangular borders.

Bookmark and Share
previous  ·  1 l 2 l 3  ·  next page
all on one page
read more stories here -> Marketplace  l  Culture  l  Community  l  News

You might also like:

Golf in a Box
Saline Scores X Golf
Billie Ochberg
Photo: Eclipse Party
Aiming High
Himalayan Bazaar's owners open a restaurant.
Sabine Bickford
Health Care - Transportation
Festivals, Fairs, Shows, & Sales
Jim Harbaugh's Challenge
After sending a record number of players to the NFL, the hyperkinetic coach rebuilds under pressure.
Craig Ross
Giant Rubik's Cube
I Spy: September 2017
Sally Bjork
Vievee Francis
Transformations
Keith Taylor
Shopping - Malls and More
Jerusalem Market Loses Its Lease
And other marketplace closings, September 2017
Sabine Bickford
John Shultz photography and Portrait Studio in Ann Arbor since 1982