James Harris Gallery is pleased to present Purplish, an exhibition featuring new work by Roy McMakin. As artist, architect, and furniture designer, McMakin moves seamlessly between these varied disciplines, always toying with our expectations of that which surrounds us in the domestic realm.
Purplish unites McMakin’s conceptually rigorous work in sculpture, photography, and drawing. Sculpturally, the artist has a penchant for disrupting the familiar in everyday furniture, often confounding the functionality of such objects. A chest of drawers, for example, is a chest of drawers, yet with one exception—one drawer sits apart, too large to fit the empty hole it should fill. In the same way, McMakin uses the medium of photography to create objects that embrace both wit and significance. By transforming two found paintings, a partially sewn blouse, and pieces of faded fabric into photographic two-dimensional artworks, he captures the details that often go unnoticed and engages in a philosophical contemplation of the lived history of such objects.
McMakin’s photographs, seemingly simple and pared down, embody the artist’s exquisite attention to detail. They are constructed much like his furniture, with many parts subsumed into a coherent whole. As if each were a sculpture, McMakin gives dimension to this flat medium by examining the objects on all sides—front and back, top and bottom, left and right. Moreover, attempting to avoid the manifest distortion of the camera lens, he constructs each of these views through a composite of numerous images—a process that not only acknowledges the limits of the medium but also suggests the limits of our own perceptual understanding. Purplish, bringing together a compelling body of work that subtly explores notions of family and relationships through objects, demonstrates the artist’s constant reframing of the domestic realm and his play with the lines between art, architecture, and design.
McMakin’s work has been shown nationally, most notably in a 2003 retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Henry Art Gallery. Other venues for his solo exhibitions include the Portland Art Museum, San Diego State University Art Gallery, and Seattle Art Museum. McMakin’s work has recently been featured in Art on Paper, Wallpaper, and The New York Times Magazine.
Please click here for Carrie E.A. Scott’s essay on this body of work, published in the catalogue that accompanies this exhibition. Catalogues are available at the gallery for $30.