Robert McCauley, "Western Edge" | Altamira Scottsdale
Altamira Fine Art Scottsdale is pleased to present our first solo exhibition for Robert McCauley, following a successful two man show in the Spring of 2017.
Meet the Artist at the ArtWalk Reception on Thursday, March 15th from 6:30-9pm.
Over a dozen new oil paintings will be featured in the show, including his signature black bears. This is Robert’s first gallery exhibition of 2018, following a major museum show featuring over thirty paintings and assemblage works from the 1990s to the present, at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, in Bainbridge Island, WA. McCauley’s main themes revolve around worlds in collision, addressing topics of cultural displacement and destruction, as well as our relationships with nature and the environment.
“Ursus Americanus, the North American black bear, has become my working journeyman. He will remind you of a human being when I have him stand erect on his hind legs. Unlike the primate, however, the bear is not on our same evolutionary branch. This disconnect is of great use to me because our innate recognition of a standing figure creates expectations that cannot be brought to fruition by a wild creature.” -Robert McCauley
Robert McCauley’s paintings, drawings, installations and mixed media works are rooted in the tradition of 19th century American Romanticism, yet his narratives are contemporary, timely and relevant. Through the metaphorical juxtaposition of found objects, inscribed texts on frames and ambiguous titles, McCauley addresses a wide variety of contemporary themes and issues, including cultures in collision, environmental ethics, humankind’s impact on nature and the appropriation of nature in art. The artist states: "My work, although at this point centers on the American black bear, is not about the bear. It’s equally not about my style of paint handling. Both approaches are the only voice I have for a diatribe on how we’re doing as custodians of this planet."
Pre-sales available. Call (480) 949-1256 for more information.
Robert McCauley was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, Washington, and has been influenced by the Northwest Coast culture in his artwork. Originally an oceanography major at Western Washington University, he switched to art when he realized that oceanographers have to work in labs. Later, hearing that it was best to go east for grad school, he went all the way to eastern Washington to attend Washington State University. After getting an MFA in 1972, he settled in Illinois to teach at Rockford College. After a long and distinguished career as a professor and chairman of the art department, McCauley returned to his beloved Skagit Valley to live and work.
While McCauley’s paintings, drawings, installations and mixed media works are rooted in the tradition of 19th century American Romanticism, his narratives are contemporary, timely and relevant. Through the metaphorical juxtaposition of found objects, inscribed texts on frames and ambiguous titles, McCauley addresses a wide variety of contemporary themes and issues, including cultures in collision, environmental ethics, humankind’s impact on nature and the appropriation of nature in art.
McCauley’s paintings are sometimes ambiguous, but not so much that no meaning comes across. Returning to his childhood haunts each summer has shown the artist how much things keep changing. “The salmon streams I fished in are silted up and have no more salmon,” he says. “The Native Americans used to set a trap of chicken wire a half mile out to sea, and I would watch the salmon in the trap in awe. That’s gone. Even the huge fishing resorts are gone because the fish are gone. Clear-cutting is still common. A small greenbelt of ten feet on either side of the roads makes you think you’re looking at forest, but beyond that it’s just devastation.”
McCauley is an award-winning artist who has exhibited in museum and gallery shows nationally since 1975. His teaching experience includes Professor Emeritus at Rockford University, and Professor and Chairman, Department of Art and Art History, Rockford University. He was awarded a Fellowship in drawing from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982, and a Fellowship in Painting from the Illinois Arts Council in 1999, as well as a Research Grant, Kwakwaka’wakw Culture, Vancouver Island, Rockford College in 1994.