Featured image for post: “Memorabilia” — an Exhibition of Paintings by Margaret McCann Opens in the Barton Art Galleries on October 16

“Memorabilia” — an Exhibition of Paintings by Margaret McCann Opens in the Barton Art Galleries on October 16

WILSON, N.C. — September 28, 2023 — Barton Art Galleries is delighted to announce the opening of Margaret McCann’s exhibition “Memorabilia” on October 16, with a reception planned for Thursday, Oct. 19, from 5-7 p.m. The gallery talk will begin at 6 p.m. The reception and the exhibition will be open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend. The exhibition will be open from Oct. 16 – Nov. 21.

Painting by Margaret McCann titled WaterCountry 1995-2007McCann also will be Barton College’s fall artist-in-residence, working with art students during the period of October 16 – 28. And, she will offer two community workshops on two Saturdays, October 21, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and October 28, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. These workshops will focus on beginning painting strategies for working from observation and/or a photo reference. Participants at all skill levels are encouraged to sign up. The painting workshops will be open to the public. The workshop cost for FOVA (Friends of Visual Arts) members is $25.00 and for nonmembers, $50.00. For more information and/or to register for the workshops, please contact Maureen O’Neill, director of exhibitions and educational programming at the Barton Art Galleries, at moneill@barton.edu or 252-399-6476.

McCann’s exhibition will feature paintings that focus on still lifes that pay homage to historical painting masters, while staging objects and figures in contemporary pop culture environments. McCann’s complex painted spaces are surreal, humorous, and psychological. Living in Rome for eight years was a very transformative experience for McCann. She was a Fulbright scholar and went to Rome to study saint paintings in 1985, to apply their strange fusion of the neurotic and the sublime to self-portraiture.

Painting by Margaret McCann titled Lamentation 2014

McCann explains that living in Europe broadened her world view considerably. “Rome’s cornucopian historical personality, its ancient monuments wormholes back in time, sparked my interest in Metaphysical Painting’s temporal and spatial contradictions,” she shares. “I began painting still life as visionary cities, then placing giant figures in them. Like Italy’s divergent layers of modernity and history, now and then, foreshortened forms simultaneously stack up flatly on the picture plane and fall back into space. In recent still lifes, I pay homage to masters Lucian Freud and Caravaggio. Aspects of the Monopoly game, which was based on Atlantic City, where I lived [for] four years, refer to the stressful aspects of contending in the real world. Oddly beautiful, Atlantic City reminded me of Rome’s historical center, in that both possess intense visual drama on a small scale, and self-conscious architecture. But while Roman monuments heroically endure, structures in Atlantic City instead last no longer than their frivolous functions do, caricaturizing American culture. Posing pop culture and current events against historical gravity continues to inspire me to paint.”

About the artist

McCann studied at Yale University, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree and at (Washington University in St. Louis where she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She also studied at the New York Studio School.

Her solo exhibitions include Antonia Jannone Disegni di Architettura in Milan, The Painting Center in New York City, and Artemesia Gallery in Chicago. Her work has been reviewed in La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and the New York Observer. Her awards and recognitions include Fulbright-Hays, Ingram-Merrill, Blanche E. Colman, and New Hampshire State Council grants, and residencies at Ragdale, Millay, AAiRome, and the Cite des Arts in Paris.

McCann teaches at the Art Students League in New York, and has taught at the University of Virginia, Semester at Sea, Pratt, Syracuse University, Boston University, Montclair University, Stockton University, and the University of New Hampshire, as well as in Rome, Italy at RISD, Trinity and Saint Mary’s colleges, University of Loyola-Chicago, and John Cabot University.

She writes art reviews for Two Coats of Paint, as well as for Painters Table, the Portsmouth Herald, and Art New England. And, she served as editor for “The Figure” (Skira/Rizzoli 2014), structuring its essays – by notable artists and critics Donald Kuspit, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Julie Heffernan, Kurt Kauper, Scott Noel, Richard Phillips, Irving Sandler, Nicola Verlato, Alexi Worth, and many others – around cultural contexts from antiquity to present day, exploring the changing cultural values and the evolution of techniques in the western tradition, from perspective and the camera obscura to the use of photography, Photoshop, and 3D-modeling in contemporary figurative art.