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Paul D. McKee

Paul D. McKee  fabricates art out of remnants. Scraps from previous creations, mementos from the past, and debris from consumer culture are transformed into works that range from minimally formalist to deftly referential. Take-out containers serve as molds for Hydrocal casts or are pressed onto reused paper to create subtly dimensional prints.  


McKee’s works of art are both memento mori and offerings of renewal and repurpose.   


The accumulation of life experiences over the last ten years — including a bout with cancer, the witnessing of unnecessary death, moving his mother out of her home of forty years — have led McKee to consider what is lost and what remains. But the art is not entirely elegiac. Overtones of liberated tinkering infuse the installations, prints, and stand-alone sculptures. McKee is making what he wants to make, combining objects and media and fragments in unexpected ways that depart from his previous bodies of work. What lives on, however, is a wry sense of humor, a fusion of visual pleasure and conceptual play, and an interchange of reality and theatricality.  


McKee has long been interested in blurring the lines between the real and the ideal, the familiar and the unfamiliar, often in order to expose heteronormative visions of home life and gender, representations of the American dream long exclusionary for the gay community. In his current work, McKee adds ideas about time, remembrance, ecology, and consumerism. From the frames around his prints, to the assemblages of wood scraps and plaster objects, McKee uses donated and found materials, along with vestiges and leftovers from his previous practices.  


Artistic, industrial, and everyday detritus are combined with items infused with memory and meaning. And all of it becomes new. There is often a juxtaposition — or formal fusion — between what should be discarded and what might be recreated, what is “real” and what is simulated. McKee’s beautifully spare and texturally rich works of art keep us wondering what endures, what can be transformed or replicated, and, ultimately, what remains.   


McKee earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Wichita State University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts and has amassed an extensive exhibition record. McKee has received recognition, grants, awards, and residencies from institutions such as Visual Overture Magazine, the James Washington Foundation, The UW Henry Art Gallery, and 4Culture. His work can be found in numerous private collections in Europe and the United States. McKee’s curatorial experience includes co-founding and a 10 year history of curating at METHOD Gallery, the Tashiro Kaplan Building, as well as with multiple local and regional exhibitions. 

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