Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to announce a Bed, a Chair, a Chest of Drawers, a Lamp, a Table, and a Window, an exhibition of sculptures, photographs, and works on paper by Roy McMakin at 545 West 20th Street. Opening on January 10, 2019, this is the arist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Throughout his career, McMakin has created work that occupies a space between art and design, fantasy and reality, comfort and discomfort. He typically uses traditional furniture fabrication methods, but also scavenges found objects abandoned in alleys and his past homes. While many works have usefulness at their core, some offer only impractical utility, and others still are only available for contemplation. Some are photographs that hang on walls; others are walls.
At the core of it all is domesticity. Home is not just a sentimental subject, but also a series of emotion-laden objects. The window he looks through and mirror he looks at turn into attempts at creating physical representations of pain, longing, and comfort. In fact, the perspective between an adult and a child’s understanding of home is often blurred in McMakin’s works. For example, at first glance, Untitled (1986) appears to be a standard bench. Yet, upon further inspection, the seat is too high for a child to sit with both feet on the ground and its length is too short for an adult to lie down on it comfortably. Even its black color evokes a somber, ominous feeling, far from the coziness of a childhood piece of furniture. In a sense, it asks the question: at what point in one’s life is this bench the right fit?
In 2014, McMakin explained the intended impact of his objects: “I’m all about the meaning and the perception of the object and the emotional hit you get from the object. It’s what artists do. That is why my stuff feels different.” Similarly, Photographs of Both Sides of Two Pieces of Fabric I’ve Had for a Long Time (2008) romanticize the “stuff” of ordinary life. Here, the artist documented two seemingly useless items he had held onto for 40 years—that is, however, until they became photographic subjects. What were once two errant pieces of fabric, have now been catalogued, photographed, aestheticized, re-contextualized, printed, and preserved. Banal, quotidian things acquire objecthood in McMakin’s studio, as pathos and nostalgia hover eerily in the air.
Born in Lander, Wyoming in 1956, Roy McMakin received his MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 1983. Faculty members Allan Kaprow and Manny Farber were important early influences. Indeed, McMakin exhibits many of what Farber famously described as “termite art tendencies,” in which the artist approaches a subject and gnaws at it over time and from the margins. To this day, McMakin’s termite approach continues to allow him to negotiate the slippery terrain between art and function by pulling art into the everyday, rather than pushing the everyday onto a pedestal. The artist lives and works between San Diego and Seattle.
Since 1980, McMakin has had over thirty solo-exhibitions. Notable galleries and institutions include: Quint Gallery (1986, 1987, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2013, San Diego), Marc Foxx (1997, 2000, Los Angeles), Henry Art Gallery (2004, Seattle), Seattle Art Museum (1999), Feature (2001, New York), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2003), and Matthew Marks Gallery (2005, 2008, New York).
McMakin’s work is featured in the collections of major museums around the country, such as: the Hammer Museum of Art, University of California, Los Angeles; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Museum of Modern Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to represent Roy McMakin.
a Bed, a Chair, a Chest of Drawers, a Lamp, a Table, and a Window will be on view at Garth Greenan Gallery, 545 West 20th Street (between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues), through Saturday, February 16, 2019. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. For more information, please contact the gallery at (212) 929-1351, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.