Scooter Flaherty & Jon McMillan - November 2012
Thursday November 1st - November 30th, 2012
In dialogue with one another’s work, and with the modern masters of the 20th century, “In Dialogue” presents contemporary paintings and sculptures by two artists, Scooter Flaherty and Jon McMillan – both new to cross mackenzie gallery. Within the tradition of the greats of abstract expressionism like Mark Rothko and Clifford Still and the more recent painters, Sean Scully and Brice Marden, Scooter Flaherty expands their reach and breaks new ground. Flaherty reinterprets these classics with an elegant hand – creating a nuanced dynamism of original color on his canvases. The layered and textured surfaces of the vertical masses are charged and activated at their edges with intense colors, making an energetic visual vibration. The color relationships are heightened by the sense of pressure at the convergence of the masses, yet harmonize to the whole of the painted color fields.
Against this backdrop, and in dialogue with these beautiful paintings is the work by relative newcomer, ceramic sculptor, Jon McMillan. His carefully carved totems also recall early modernists like sculptors Lipchitz and Laurens but he takes their once-radical cubist carvings into the 21st century with his new softer angles and sometime whimsical anthropomorphic references.
Both artists are sensitive to the tactile seduction of their surfaces – the colors are complex and layered. The fact of the underlying material is not lost or hidden – one is aware of the clay or the canvas beneath. One might imagine that if Flaherty engaged in sculpture he would create McMillan-like totems and likewise if this sculptor were to expand his totems’ surfaces onto canvas he would arrive at a Flaherty-like canvases. It is a rewarding artistic dialogue for the viewer.
Jon McMillan earned his MFA at Southern Illinois University in 2009, and currently teaches ceramics at The Mary Washington University. He recently returned from an art residency at the prestigious Vallauris Institute of the Arts in France. Highlights from his resume include a solo show at the Larkin Gallery Harrisonburg VA, inclusion in the shows “Small Favors II” at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia and “Feats of Clay” in California.
Scooter Flaherty, a long time resident of DC has participated in numerous solo and group shows in Washington and New York most recently at Gallery Plan B in 2008. He received his BFA from Ohio State University and participated in the McClancy Studio Program of Empire State College and apprenticed with noted painter Stewart Hitch.