Reference Entry

McKay, Brian

Anne Gray

in Oxford Art Online


Published online December 2004 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T097829

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  • Graphic Design and Typography
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  • 20th-Century Art

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(b Meckering, W. Australia, March 18, 1926).

Australian painter and printmaker. In his formative years he worked as a graphic designer in Perth, which provided him with a solid technical training. He moved to London in the 1960s where he worked at a screen-printing factory. He was inspired by the abstract tradition of Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly and Joseph Albers. When he first saw their work, the scale of it had an immediate and liberating effect on him and he embarked on a series of large experimental pieces using a combination of pure colour and built-up pigment. He also believed that art must relate to society, or be of use in the community, and to this end he made political posters and trade union banners.

McKay has been consistently experimental in his approach to making art, in his exploration of surface textures, the mystery of lettering and the interplay of colour. He has frequently used text as metaphor and has constructed austere images with meticulously crafted surfaces and created iconic forms out of popular imagery and found objects. His work is abstract, in the Greek or medieval sense of the word, in so far as it contains general and inherent aspects of phenomenon and not its individual or accidental aspects....

Reference Entry.  328 words. 

Subjects: Graphic Design and Typography ; Painting ; Prints and Printmaking ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; 20th-Century Art

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