In Newly Launched Exhibition Artist Lacey McKinney Flips Traditional Portraiture Genre On Its Head

The Everson Museum of Art’s latest exhibition titled, Reconfiguration, opened this past Saturday, November 14 and will be on view through January 24, 2022. Reconfiguration showcases 24 works by emerging artist Lacey McKinney whose work combines traditional painting and collage.
Born in Oswego, NY, McKinney graduated from SUNY Oswego with a BFA and MA. She earned her MFA in Painting and Drawing from SUNY New Paltz. She is currently a full-time faculty at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, NY and lives and works in Liverpool, NY.
McKinney has said that her studio practice is, “centered on exploring embodiment, feminist theory, and how women are represented in images.” In her portraits of women and depictions of the female body, McKinney explores the power of images to construct—and subvert—identity. Using sourced images from mass media and history books, as well as her own photographs, McKinney disassembles the originals into their parts and then reassembles brand new images. The process of creating a new composite image allows McKinney to explore new conceptual and compositional possibilities that inform the final work.
Like the collages, McKinney’s portrait paintings are influenced by the work of women artists. Color Field pioneer Helen Frankenthaler’s famed staining technique and feminist figurative painter Joan Semmel’s subversion of the male gaze inform many of McKinney’s works. At the same time, McKinney challenges the history of the portraiture genre, questioning how much information can be gleaned from a single portrait. By merging multiple faces into one composition, McKinney makes visible the shifting nature of identity

In a 2019 interview with Elizabeth Delaney for McColl Center for Art + Innovation McKinney explained, “As a contemporary artist, I take previously dismissed narratives and re-position them as foregrounded visual amalgamations. I am interested in expressing complexity, movement, and heterogeneous visual representations, thereby expanding convention to the benefit of all, especially those who could start to see themselves reflected more often.”

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