What is the proper tenor between dissonance and harmony? What lies amidst the physically experienced and that which our brain grasps and calls knowledge? That unintelligible undercurrent of “what” –the torn out page that you thumb with frustration or the holes in your mind when you search for words and summon only dumb feeling – trembles in the work of Michael Jones McKean. McKean uses objects as shorthand, but not for a cohesive narrative the viewer must reconstruct. Rather, like the arrangement of sounds in a William Gass sentence, the objects that comprise McKean’s sculptural installations are acutely, but abstractly, charged; adding up lyrically and symbolically. Read one direction, his constellations might draw awkward yearning, read another, a loaded gun.
Michael Jones McKean is Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Expanded Media at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was a recent resident at the Core Program in Houston from 2004-2006. His recent exhibitions include, Riverboat Love Songs for Ghost Whale Regatta, Grand Arts, Kansas City, Missouri; The Zephyr Breeze and the Deepest Ocean Valley, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, Nebraska as well as numerous shows through out the United States in New York, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts, to name just a few. He has received awards from The Nancy Graves Foundation, New York, The Eliza Prize from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as well as being an Artadia Award Finalist. McKean’s work is held in a number of public collections, including, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, The Archie Bray Foundation, Central Michigan University and The Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts.