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Alan Magee: Paintings, Sculpture, Graphics

Frye Art Museum
Seattle WA thru Apr 3, 2005

Alan Magee - AlphabetAlan Magee, Alphabet (1999), acrylic on panel [Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA through Apr 3]


Alan Magee is one of the most ingenious realist artists of our time. He began his career as an illustrator for publications such as Time, Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, and The New York Times. In the late 70s, Magee began painting and transformed his illustrative style into stunning examinations of inanimate objects. This retrospective features over one hundred works from a 30-year career and includes an extensive exhibition catalogue.

Alan Magee - Portrait of Hannah Höch
Alan Magee, Portrait of Hannah Höch (1992), digital photomontage on dye sub paper [Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA through Apr 3]

Magee’s titles often contain clues to metaphoric relationships between the carefully arranged objects in the picture plane. For example, “Rhyme” depicts a pair of paintbrushes with an animated and open feeling. “Quartet” highlights four individual rocks in a grouping. Utilitarian items are transformed in pieces like “Alphabet” and “Guild”, where rusty tools, smooth worn pebbles, a well-used box of paint and old envelopes invite viewers to speculate on their history. The simple modern compositions have a light feeling and a sense of personality that Magee expresses with quiet and witty poignancy.Magee has frequently pushed beyond the literal in his career. The exhibition includes photomontages, eerie monotypes of faces and idiosyncratic sculptures, as well as a newly-designed tapestry based on his paintings.

Alan Magee - SolarisAlan Magee, Solaris (2000), acrylic on canvas [Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA through Apr 3]

Allyn Cantor

 Mon, Feb 7, 2005