As one of the key figures of the West Coast Pattern and Decoration movement, Kim MacConnel uses a wide variety of media, from fabric to found objects to painting, to question the place of decoration in contemporary art and society. This show features new work, which treads the more familiar terrain of formal painted panels. Like MacConnel’s decorated fabric collages featured in his recent retrospective at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, these new works revel in the juxtaposition of intricate patterns and reference designs of non Western cultures, particularly Africa.
Like Matisse and Picasso before him, MacConnel appreciates the visual wealth of these traditions, yet unlike his predecessors he aims for a more honest appropriation that deals with the historical and cultural context of pattern. Overall the effect is an ebullient, smart homage to the possibilities of line and color. As critic David Pagel noted in a recent article, “what marks MacConnel as an original is his shameless embrace of decoration and the messiness with which he manifests his vision of a world run riot with dots, dashes and zigzags.”
Kim MacConnel received both his BFA and MFA at the University of California, San Diego. In the Fall of 2003 the Santa Monica Museum of Art honored him with a retrospective exhibition. MacConnel has also been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; several Whitney Biennials and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.