Jace McKinney exhibits in’Theophany’
“This one has a lot of information in it,”said Jace McKinney while standing in front of his painting,”And the Sky Fell.”
No understatement, the painting as McKinney indicated, was layered in imagery and meaning. An ambiguous human form, a giant fist trailing gold threads and a flurry of fowl falling from the sky to the sea evoke the story of the sun-grazing Icharus and rampant consumerism, are just some of the themes packed into the piece.
“This piece came to me before any research that I did. It was like a premonition in a sense and…I began to really question’what do these different symbols mean?'”asked the artist.
The tiers of meaning in”And the Sky Fell”are like most of the works in”Theophany,”McKinney’s show of new works currently up at Popopstudios.
Inspired by research history and even visions, the show contains themes that begin with spirituality and the nature of God and continue into dystopia and the industrial age.
In each painting a conversation unfolds, challenging viewers to ask questions of their own.
The layout of the show numbers replace the names of the works on the gallery’s walls mirror McKinney’s intent.
“I didn’t want people to focus on a card,”he said.”It’s also designed in a way where a person has to search…I really wanted to…invite the viewer to really inquire.”
The show greets viewers with”Arrival,”the depiction of a supernatural encounter for a figure caught between two worlds. In the painting a glowing gateway affixed within the blue of a night sky frames a human figure who’s face is obscured by a space suit helmet.
“I want to give an idea of this god-like nature that is now manifested in this human being who’s returning from a realm space,”said McKinney.”I wanted to make it something that was unknown in nature by hiding the person’s face but I also wanted to make it seem like something that was abundant and full of life instead of something that was dangerous and probably dark and full of death.”
All of the paintings are large scale. The average piece is about 3 x 4 feet in what works almost as a reference to the scope of the ideas they encompass.
“The Great Architect: Theatre of Oblivion,”the largest piece, considers much of what the other paintings reflect on in the show. The stage of the”theatre”, a nirvana-like facade of pinks, purples and candy blues, sits at the apex of a layered underworld powered by a shadowy male figure. The jet stream of a rocket constitutes the final layer, sending the whole scene into orbit.
“It’s kind of representative of the world itself where we are kind of moving in space continously to whatever end awaits us,”he said.
The series of images McKinney plans to also exhibit at galleries in London and New York are the results, he said, of a conversation.
“We as human beings we are social beings and there’ll always be opposite ideas in our conversations,”he said.
Whether they rest on the controversial or the comforting, religion or war, despite our differences in opinion or belief, said McKinney,”It’s just very interesting to have these conversations and to not block each other out.”