The force of Malcolm McKesson's work – transgressive, liberated, born of an exalted urge – invites the subjugated viewer to contemplate an impression of the uncanny. The artist lays bare part of what is buried deep, guiding us to the heart of our own familiar terra incognita.
Malcolm McKesson came to art by an unusual path. Born to a well-heeled New York family, he graduated from Harvard and worked for the family chemical company for twenty years before withdrawing from professional life in his forties. With the support of his wife, the poet Madeline Mason, he decided to devote himself to his art. He began covering sheets of paper with a ball-point pen, working on the shapes as if sculpting them, until the multitude of lines gradually lent volume and consistency to his imaginary creatures. Eventually, the play of chiaroscuro revealed a shadowy, serious presence, as generous as it was ghostly.
McKesson used this imaginary world to explore his own sado-masochistic fantasies, using it as the artistic counterpart to his short story Matriarchy : Freedom in Bondage. The drawings are characterised by violent, sensual eroticism, the ample figures of the characters fully fleshing out their carnality. Yet these fundamentally androgynous creatures question the difference between the genders, blurring socially accepted codes and conceptions. Malcolm McKesson's fascinating, lascivious, spectral art has been acquired by major art brut collections such as the Collection de l'Art Brut (Lausanne) and The Museum of Everything (London).
drawing now art fair, le carreau du temple, from march 22th to 25th, 2018.
vestiges & verse : notes from the newfangled epic, folk art museum, from january 21th to may 27th, 2018.
the museum of everything, from june 10th, 2017, to april 2nd, 2018, mona (museum of old and new art), berriedale, australia.
le mur (the wall), works from antoine de galbert's collection, paris, la maison rouge, from june 14th to september 21th, 2014.
rentrée hors les normes 2011: discoveries & new acquisitions, paris, christian berst gallery, september 10th - 28th, 2011.
drawing now, salon du dessin contemporain, paris, caroussel du louvre, from march 25th to 28th, 2011.
le mur, oeuvres de la collection antoine de galbert, exhibition catalog, texts by antoine de galbert, anaël pigeat, sophie delpeux, paris, fage, la maison rouge, 2014.
martine lusardy, john maizels, raw vision 25 ans d’art brut, paris, halle saint pierre, 2013.
collection de la création franche 1989-2010, texts by noël mamère, pascal rigeade, gérard sendrey, martine lamy, city of bègles, 2010.
the museum of everything, exhibition catalog (april 1st – august 29th, pinacoteca agnelli - turin - italy), milan, electa, 2010.
outsider art, source book, art brut, folk art, outsider art, londres, raw vision ltd, 2009.
colin rhodes, “raw classic: malcolm mckesson” in raw vision n°53, winter 2005.
colin rhodes, "fulfillments of desire in the work of a self-taught artist: the intimate existence of malcolm mckesson" in journal of the association of art historians, vol. 25, n°5, 2002.
colin rhodes, l’art outsider, art brut et création hors normes au XXe siècle, paris, thames & hudson, 2001.
malcolm mckesson: an exquisite obsession, ex cat., 1997.
mckesson, matriarchy : freedom in bondage, san francisco, green candy press, 1997.
tony thorne, “the reclusive world of malcom mckesson” in raw vision n°10, winter 1994/95.