Pay attention. This is the guiding principle of Alan Magee’s art. As a realist, Magee’s images may at first seem simply a re-presentation of the familiar. However, what Magee highlights in his careful selection of such recognizable subject matter is the act of looking itself. He reminds us that we are all viewers and that every act of seeing is a dynamic process.
In his contribution to the exhibition catalogue, Jonathan Weiner writes, “…like the best work in any medium, Magee’s paintings seem to exist outside all schools. Partly, perhaps, because he grew up in small towns, not cities, his paintings are not about art, about trends or theories, but about the beauty and magic of the things seen, and the things unseen beyond it.”
Alan Magee was born in 1947 in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He received a degree in illustration from the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1969. After working as a successful illustrator for publications such as Time, Playboy, the Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times, as well as Bantam, Ballantine, and Simon & Schuster, he began to concentrate on his personal paintings in the late 1970s. Since that time, he has had several solo exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. Magee’s early training in illustration, and the discipline’s emphasis on perception and technical skill, continues to inform his artistic practice today.
Alan Magee: Paintings, Sculpture, Graphics includes nearly 100 paintings, prints, and sculpture created over three decades. The exhibition demonstrates Magee’s broad range of styles and techniques, from his realist works in watercolor, acrylic, and oil, to his spare monotypes and idiosyncratic sculptures. New to his oeuvre and included in this exhibition is a series of large-scale tapestries based on images from his other works. A major monograph accompanies the exhibition. Published by Forum Gallery in 2003, it includes essays by Jonathan Weiner, Richard V. West, and an interview with the artist by Barry Lopez.
Organized by the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine.