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, le carreau du temple, paris, from march 22th to 25th, 2018.
vestiges & verse : notes from the newfangled epic, folk art museum, new york, united states, from january 21th to may 27th, 2018.
the museum of everything, mona (museum of old and new art), berriedale, australia, from june 10th, 2017, to april 2nd, 2018.
le mur (the wall), works from antoine de galbert's collection, la maison rouge, paris, from june 14th to september 21th, 2014.
rentrée hors les normes 2011: discoveries & new acquisitions, christian berst art brut, paris, from september 10th to 28th, 2011.
drawing now, caroussel du louvre, paris, from march 25th to 28th, 2011.
exhibition catalogue, le mur, oeuvres de la collection antoine de galbert, texts by antoine de galbert, anaël pigeat, sophie delpeux, la maison rouge, fage, paris, 2014.
raw vision 25 ans d’art brut, martine lusardy, john maizels, halle saint pierre, paris, 2013.
collection de la création franche 1989-2010, texts by noël mamère, pascal rigeade, gérard sendrey, martine lamy, city of bègles, 2010.
exhibition catalogue, the museum of everything, electa, milan, 2010.
outsider art, source book, art brut, folk art, outsider art, raw vision ltd, london, 2009.
“raw classic: malcolm mckesson”, colin rhodes, in raw vision n°53, winter, 2005.
"fulfillments of desire in the work of a self-taught artist: the intimate existence of malcolm mckesson", colin rhodes, in journal of the association of art historians, vol. 25, n°5, 2002.
l’art outsider, art brut et création hors normes au XXe siècle, colin rhodes, thames & hudson, paris, 2001.
malcolm mckesson: an exquisite obsession, ex cat., 1997.
mckesson, matriarchy : freedom in bondage, san francisco, green candy press, 1997.
“the reclusive world of malcom mckesson”, tony thorne, in raw vision n°10, winter 1994/95.