SPRINGFIELD – "The sunshine of our last day," an installation project by Michael Jones McKean, will be on display in the Visual Arts Gallery at the University of Illinois at Springfield from February 21 through March 27.
An untitled sketch by Michael McKean.
The gallery will host an artist's talk beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21, followed by an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The artist's talk, reception, and exhibit are free and open to the public.
Built specially for this exhibit, "The sunshine of our last day" comprises six new sculptures that include: a fragment of a yacht involved in a failed attempt at a solo circumnavigation of the globe, without stopping; stage clothes worn by free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler; mud from the Mississippi River and silt from New York's East River; two Casio keyboards; a plaster harpoon; windbreaker jackets; papier mache plants; a riverboat captain’s jacket; and replicas of Scandinavian-inspired furniture. In the exhibition, McKean compresses meticulously made replicas of identifiable forms with appropriated artifacts and unformed matter in an attempt to articulate the poetic potential in objects, materials, and their arrangement while describing possibilities for how these objects might point to larger narrative or allegorical structures.
A Chancellor's Distinguished Guest at UIS, McKean is currently assistant professor of sculpture and extended media at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has received numerous awards, including fellowships and residencies at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center; and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. He has also received four State Arts Commission grants including an Emerging Artist Fellowship. McKean received the MFA from Alfred University in 2002 and the BFA from Marywood University in 2000.
The Visual Arts Gallery is located in room 201 of the Health and Sciences Building on the UIS campus. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For further information, go to www.uis.edu/visualarts/ or contact the gallery by phone at 217/206-6506 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.