Texas Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by David McGee titled “Black Narcissus.” The show features a new series of watercolors on paper which were inspired by the artist’s recent reading of Stanley Crouch’s contrarian book of essays, “The Artificial White Man: Essays on Authenticity” published in 2004. Combining image and text McGee proposes visual questions on how cultural signifiers define and mystify interpretations of race, heritage and identity. As always McGee illustrates the provocative questions that interest him and attempts to give the viewer insight into the contradictions and compromises that accompany the activities of daily life: the stereotypes, the myths and the perceived truths. As in his show at DiverseWorks, Houston in 2003, “Telelestai: Notebooks from the Black Sea,” and an earlier series of watercolors, “From Juba to Jive,” which illustrated words from the dictionary of African-American slang, McGee finds visual resources in literary texts that are then recalled by the use of text in the work. There is a balance struck between the past and the present through the citing of historical precedents for contemporary cultural images.
Included in the show is a single painting that incorporates more recent history – the hurricane tragedy in New Orleans and the economic and cultural issues that were then discussed in the press about the make-up of American society. As a child, visiting Louisiana each summer, the story of New Orleans become an intense and personal one for the artist. Several of the most recent watercolors relate to this event as well – combining personal history and metaphorical images of the catastrophe.
David McGee’s recent exhibitions include “The Black Rider,” a solo show at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah (2005); and the group show “Double Consciousness/Black Conceptual Art Since 1970”, at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2005). This will be the artist’s third show at the Texas Gallery. David McGee was the TALA “Artist of the Year” in 2005 and was visiting lecturer at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2004.