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600 Moons: Fifty Years
of Philip McCracken's Art

Museum of Northwest Art
La Conner WA Jul 17-Oct 17, 2004

Madeline Wood - Four on the Move
Philip McCracken, Dream of a Dying Owl (1963), print, pencil and ink wash on paper [Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner WA, Jul 17-Oct 17]

Now in his mid-seventies, Washington artist Philip McCracken has a solid reputation for imagery of the natural world, most notably for his sculpture of raptors and other birds. In this major retrospective, MoNA brings together a number of works from public and private collections throughout the U.S. and Canada. Visitors have an unprecedented look at the artist’s lifelong endeavours including paintings and other two-dimensional mixed-media works from his long career. 

McCracken’s profound observation of nature is the impetus that gives his pieces their distinction. His elegant forms and iconic images capture the purity of the natural world and portray behavioural characteristics of certain species. Works like Dream of a Dying Owl (1963) are indicative of the artist’s close connection to the creatures inhabiting his surroundings. His connection to the region similarly is conveyed through the use of such local materials as wood, stone, mastodon tusk, abalone shell, pewter and other precious minerals and metals. As a fifth-generation resident of Washington State and long time resident of Guemes Island, McCracken also maintains close links with Northwest culture.

This exhibition establishes McCracken as an important link between contemporary Northwest art and the influential artists of the Northwest School who were his friends and exemplars. During his life, McCracken’s developmental path took him to New York, the American Southwest and to England, where he studied with Henry Moore. The exhibition includes more than seventy works, a video about the artist and a full colour catalogue.

Allyn Cantor

All material © 1996–2006  Wed, Jun 2, 2004