Currently running at Modern Art Gallery in London is Barry McGee third solo exhibition at the gallery and his first exhibition in London in six years.
Barry McGee’s style and visual language has an instantly recognizable character and unique voice. His work draws its structures and graphic impact from the influences of tagging, ‘Mission School’ abstraction, and vandalism, meeting a formal and installational logic that draws on the conventions of contemporary painting and sculpture. The core of McGee’s practice is the expressive immediacy and spirit of independence that is rooted in the culture and histories of socially motivated intervention in the public realm.
McGee’s paintings and drawings incorporate elegantly draughted elements of figurative linework and repetitive tessellations of geometric, abstract patterns which synthesize found and invented source material. In both formal and informal contexts, bold combinations of color, shape and knowledgably crafted graphic elements sit against and beside one another, alive with energy and empathy.
His pictorial sense touches on the global reach of unsanctioned art that takes place within the fabric of urban architecture, but equally on Hispanic and Latin-American decorative arts, and functional graphics sourced from the post-consumer world. Hundreds of uniquely painted panels and objects can be fitted together, butted against one another in an immersive, site-responsive hang that results from McGee’s openly intuitive working method.
Barry McGee was born in 1966 in California, where he continues to live and work. In 1991 he received a BFA in painting and printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute. His drawings, paintings, and mixed-media installations take their inspiration from contemporary urban culture, incorporating elements such as empty liquor bottles and spray-paint cans, tagged signs, wrenches, and scrap wood or metal.
The exhibition runs through August 13, 2011.