On First Friday, September 1, 2017 Carver Hill Gallery will open the two person show Todd McKie and David Hornung. Friday Art Walk hours are 5 – 8 pm, and both artists will be present. The exhibition will feature McKie’s flashe on canvas paintings and Hornung’s matte acrylic on linen paintings and cyanotypes on paper.
David Hornung paints what could be considered an amalgam of landscapes, portraits and still lifes in matte acrylic on linen. The individual elements in the paintings appear more as icons; void of detail and largely symbolic. With careful study of what can seem like disconnected imagery, a story can be pieced together. People are observed in their natural surroundings, often appearing with human-made, physical evidence of their presence there, i.e. houses, furniture, and tools. Their effort to make sense of their place in this environment is palpable.
I have always been drawn to the “flattened” pictorial representation one finds historically in icon painting, pictorial textiles, Asian art in general and the pictures that children make. These modes of picturing show us the world while, at the same time, account for the essential duality of painting: that a painting is both image and object. When I am working, I try to maintain an essential flatness throughout the painting, using color, shape and touch rather than volume and illusionistic space to convey meaning.
I use my memory and imagination to invent pictures. The subjects I like to paint are ordinary—walls, ladders, rocks, trees, simple buildings, garden tools, ropes, bones, rickety tables. I also paint plants, animals and the human figure. I strip all subject matter of extraneous detail so that it creates an emblematic rather than naturalistic impression on the viewer. This also makes it possible to intermingle pictorial elements with abstract and semi abstract shapes. Such stylization allows fluid interrelationships between color, shape and symbol in a way that, I hope, communicates what I believe to be the mystery and uncertainty of existence.
David Hornung is a painter, author and teacher. He has taught painting, drawing, and color at Indiana University, Parsons, Pratt, Skidmore College, Brooklyn College, and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is currently professor of art at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. His home and studio are in Queens, N.Y.
Todd McKie strives to paint with an innocent eye. He is a beautifully skilled draftsperson, and starts with drawings that he “works down from”. His work has been described as primitive and child-like, often depicting, with wry humor, life’s conundrums.
My work grows out of looking at other art, from living, and from lots of drawing,” Todd McKie writes. “The sources include African, pre-Columbian, and Eskimo art, so-called primitive art, art by the mentally handicapped, untrained artists, and children.
The work, I hope, looks spontaneous. However, it’s not easy being simple; that’s where the drawing comes in. The drawings are made with pen or pencil on cheap paper and function as visual notes to myself – notes that can be altered as I move from idea to execution. Because I also make sculpture and prints, the ideas and images used in those other mediums find their way, inevitably, into the paintings. Travel influences my work, too; places I’ve been, people I’ve met, meals that I’ve eaten, all may appear in the paintings.
Despite the preparatory drawings, when I begin a painting I try to have a direct response to what’s happening on the canvas. I try to be open to a happy accident when it comes along. It’s often difficult to know as I work just where a particular image comes from, what it’s about. Months or years later, though, I’ll realize, ‘Oh, yeah, that was about that trip to France when it rained for three weeks, or a truly amazing fresco in a dimly-lit Italian church, or that time I fell and hurt my knee.’ I’m not sure what it all means, but I try hard to make the most beautiful, mysterious, most colorful, funniest, and truest paintings I can.
Todd is a full time artist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated with a BFA from RISD in 1966. He has received numerous grants and awards including Artist in Residence, Sacatar Foundation, Bahia, Brazil; Artist in Residence, Centre d’Art, Marnay-sur-Seine, France; and Artist in Residence, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA. His work is included in many museum collections, corporate collections, and important private collections worldwide.
The show will run through September 26, 2017.