2016 ends with a flourish. The most lauded artist to have developed in this region in the thirty-five years of the contemporary studio furniture movement, Judy Kensley McKie, now presents a large and varied exhibition of works on paper, most of which have never been presented before.
Judy Kensley McKie: Works on Paper runs from November 11 through December 17. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, November 11 from 6 to 8 pm.
This exhibition looks at work ranging from the late 1980s through the 1990s, drawings distinct from the detailed ones with which she begins her furniture-making process. The pieces in this exhibition are woodcut prints, monotypes, and paintings.
The subject matter is quintessential Judy Kensley McKie vocabulary: animal and plant forms dominate. The animals are often centered, flattened and direct in their gaze. Seemingly simple in their form, they still manage to vibrate with emotion and personality.
Black Dog #1, a monotype from 1990, depicts a dog on all fours with his tail framing his head. Just a few simple strokes delineate his head and haunches. He’s a deep black with variations in density. Eyes downcast and curious peering over his white-rubbed nose, he seems to be asking us to take him home.
McKie’s finesse with line is most evident in the ink drawings. Simple and spare, the ink work highlights McKie’s light touch and ability to communicate with relatively few marks. She gives just enough information to convince us we’re looking at a spotted eagle or the shadow of a horse.
In Zebra, a handmade paper piece from 1990, we see a zebra in profile against a yellow background, the animal’s tail and neck curved on either end to frame the composition. Graceful and elegant are the lines – classic Judy Kensley McKie. The zebra’s eyes are prominent and playful and don’t hide the direct gaze of a soul.