On Friday, June 19th, I attended the reception for three shows at School 33 Art Center, including the reception of “Pentimento”, a solo exhibition by Mike McConnell, located in the Members Gallery on the second floor of School 33. This exhibition is on view until August 22nd, 2015. Click through to read about the exhibition and to view more photos of Mike McConnell’s paintings.
After viewing the Studio Artist Biennial, I walked upstairs to check out two small, solo exhibitions housed in separate gallery areas above. Upon entering the Members Gallery, my field of vision was filled by the walls of colorful, playful and explosive oil paintings by Mike McConnell.
With a background in commercial illustration, McConnell’s paintings are clearly influenced by narrative compositional structure. His colors and shapes flow through foliage, guiding the viewer along a path through his rich scenes.
Mike McConnell’s paintings occupy an interesting space between illustration and abstraction. Looking at his paintings – some shapes clearly represent something recognizable, like a fish or a tree. Overall, one can understand the depth of space in his scenes despite the lack of 3-dimensional rendering. However, the visual interest really comes from the way the layering of paint and the juxtaposition of similar colors creates visual vibration and spacial ambiguity.
Looking at this series of work, Mike McConnell creates a world that I feel like I could dive into. If you’re heading to School 33 to see the Studio Artist Biennial, this solo exhibition is absolutely worth checking out. Soon to come, another post about the other solo exhibtion on the second floor of School 33, Dominique Zeltzman’s “Waiting for Something to Happen.” So stay tuned for that!
“Mike McConnell was a successful commercial illustrator before recently dedicating himself to fine art. His years with graphic design are apparent in his compositions, as he profits from his extensive experience turning concepts into visual solutions. Nature lyrically weaves through his work, combining with artistic influences and memories of bicycle trips. His work is complex, fun, and often witty.
Using wood panels that allow him to aggressively scrape and sand back into the paint, using the paint in a collage-like technique to define shapes. His paintings often suggest a narrative, but interpretations are left to the viewer’s personal reactions and imagination.”
To read more about Mike McConnell and view more images of his work, visit his homepage at: http://www.mikemcconnell.com/
For more information about School 33 Art Center and these as well as upcoming exhibitions, visit their homepage at: http://www.school33.org/