Barry McGee began his career in the 1980s as a graffiti artist. Since the mid 1990s, however, he has been known for his unique murals and installations displayed in museums around the world. His experience as a street artist remains central to his practice and is reflected in his style, use of materials and the ideas behind his work.
In this work McGee’s trademark icon – a caricatured male figure with a twisted oddball face and sagging eyes – is depicted in common house paint on 70 metal plates. The plates are repurposed typesetting trays; cast-offs of a changing industry, their corroded, oxidised surface expresses their age and obsolescence. The hulking figure painted upon them bears a similarly worn-down appearance. His mouth open, he seems to gesture towards himself as if attempting to express his story.
housepaint on metal, 70 panels
70 panels: 33.5 x 23.0 x 1.6 cm each panel; 336.0 x 164.0 x 1.6 cm installed
John Kaldor Family Collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Not on display
© Barry McGee
Shown in 1 exhibition
Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 18 Apr 2003–06 Jul 2003
Referenced in 2 publications
Sophie Forbat, John Kaldor family collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Pop: the old and the new', pg.195-215, Sydney, 2011, 214, 215 (colour illus.).
Adam Free, Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Adelaide, 2003, 9 (colour illus.), 61. illustration is an installation view