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
© Barry McGee
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 18 Apr 2003–06 Jul 2003
Carnivalesque, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jun 2018–28 Oct 2018
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.).
Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Adelaide, 2003, 9 (colour illus.), 61. illustration is an installation view