The Mercer Gallery of art is proud to start off 2019 with allegorical paintings by Kansas University painting instructor Michael McCaffrey. His large scale figurative paintings, which explore aging and the human condition, will be featured in the main gallery through February 1st. Students from the KU Painting Club will be exhibiting work in the back gallery. There will be a closing reception on Friday, February 1st from 5:00PM to 7:00PM in the gallery, featuring live music from the GCCC Jazz Faculty Ensemble. McCaffrey will be on campus on Friday, January 25th, giving a live painting demonstration from 9:30AM to 2:30PM in the GCCC 2D art lab. All events are free and open to the public. The Mercer Gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.
McCaffrey’s paintings are some of the largest works ever exhibited at Garden City Community College, as there are three (3) paintings that measure over 14 feet in length. The subject matter of the artist’s work chronicles his elderly father’s daily interactions inside his Lawrence home in an ongoing series of paintings. He has been documenting the glacially-slow changes that take place in that environment. His father, who is also named Michael, served in the Army and later worked as a detective with the Lawrence Police Department. Michael Sr. likes his routine, and he spends most of his time tinkering in his motorcycle shop in the garage. Both the shop and Sr. have become recurring subjects in his son’s paintings.
The paintings in this exhibition appear to be very naturalistic and tight from a distance, but with closer inspection are abstract and loose. When describing the process of making his paintings, McCaffrey is driven by discovery and a process that oscillates between accurate visual representation and invented abstract forms. He states, “Visually, I desire to create a layered accumulation of paint and memories, a woven tapestry that captures a deeper and holistic view of my subjects. My hope is to explore the transformation between invention and perception.” The canvases are loaded with paint and emotion, the application of paint has both gesture and precision. McCaffrey hopes to capture the honest truth of his father at each moment in which each painting is created. He has been inspired to do this because his father is fond of saying, “The truth is the truth changes.”
The student work in the back gallery by KU painting club features a range of abstract and representational images that vary in scale. Each piece tells a small story and gives the viewer insight about each artist involved. The students featured in this exhibition are Bailey Gardner, Libby Richey, Elizabeth Sundahl, Joe Sciacca, Chloe Sotomayor, Cadence Learned, Jackson Reed, Devin Schneider, Anna Meacham, Emma Kellogg, and Madison Tubbs. The students are excited to take an exhibition outside of their hometown, and hope their participation will allow them to connect with other local creatives and art lovers to cultivate a new relationship with the greater painting community.
For information about the gallery, contact Gallery Director, Michael Knutson. firstname.lastname@example.org