Digital art and  technology  realizes the dream of the Impressionists, to paint with light,  and allows us to create works with more vivid colours than was possible before digital art. The  colour space of “natural” media was always dulled by the binders and admixtures necessary to hold the paint or chalk together. My digital art paintbrush is a pressure sensitive Wacom stylus and my digital paints are made of light in all the visible colours of the spectrum. I also use traditional photography tools like my medium format Rolleiflex, and large format Ebony camera. These are my  building blocks in combination with my digital skills.

I was trained by my mother, Marjorie McKee, who was part of the abstract expressionist movement in New York and had one of the last shows at Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery. I was just old enough to meet and have discussions about art with many of her now famous friends, Jackson Pollock, Bill and Elaine de Kooning, Harold Rosenberg, Harry Jackson etc.,  and her teacher, Hans Hofmann.  Most of these people rarely called themselves "artists,"  usually they referred to themselves as "painters." So, because of the way I work and my background, I decided that "digital painter" was the most appropriate term for the digital art I make. I got seriously involved with digital art early on, in the mid 80s, though tools like Photoshop only became available in 1990. The early days were a struggle.

 

I hope the resulting 'new vision', a term  I borrow from  Moholy Nagy, will engage the viewer to re-look at nature at this critical time of earth changes. I believe the fragility of nature can only be captured fully in this new altered medium. The viewer is caught off guard as he/she is viewing nature but from a new perspective in terms of the macrocosm.

Exhibits Link

ALAN McKEE AND THE OCCULT TRADITION

by Edward Lucie-Smith

Former art critic of the London Sunday Times

Alan McKee’s work, which combines digitized photography and advanced techniques of image manipulation using the computer with a strong mystical feeling for nature belongs to a distinguished tradition that now stretches back for more than 150 years.

The link between mystical feeling and technology is a persistent theme in the story of the Modern Movement in art. This was especially true of those leading artists, chief among them Kandinsky and Mondrian, though there were also numerous others, who were attracted to the doctrines of Theosophy, which aimed to combine aspects of the great oriental reli- gions, Hinduism and Buddhism, with modern scienti c thought. Helena P Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Movement, wrote in The Secret Doctrine [1888]: “It is on the doctrine of the illusive nature of matter, and the in nite divisibility of the atom, that the whole science of Occultism is built. It opens limitless horizons to substance informed by the divine breath of its soul in every possible state of tenuity.”

Alan McKee’s work therefore presents itself as a new phase in a long and distinguished development. One perceives in it an intricate interweaving of ideas, as well as the con dent use of the latest digital imaging techniques.

Essentially what he does is to combine two apparently contradictory strands of development. The actual structure of his compositions is based on the work of artists such as Jozef Albers, Max Bill and Ellsworth Kelly, but this is overlaid with imagery taken directly from nature. In a certain sense, a close parallel to the way they are composed can be found in certain Japanese screens, which also combine a dramatic abstract framework with exquisite details taken direct- ly from nature. Another parallel is with certain kinds of contemporary stage design. One can imagine some of these images serving as maquettes for scenes in Mozart’s Magic Flute, or for Klingsor’s garden in Wagner’s Parsifal. This sug- gests that the spectator’s relationship with them is not static, but shifting and dynamic. It also suggests that there will be, for many people who look at them, a synaesthetic element, that is, they are quite likely to suggest sounds, as part of the total experience. This is a factor that helps to strengthen the link between McKee’s work and the Occultist tradition to which I have already referred. In fact, if one cares to trace it, this did not stop short with the early Modernists, but passed through many variations during the course of the 20th century. One member of this tradition is Jackson Pollock, who, when he was young, at- tended Theosophical retreats at Ojai in California. His wife Lee Krasner often spoke of the impression these events made on him. It is therefore not surprising to find a new manifestation of the same spirit in Canada.

ALAN McKEE by John K. Grande, 

International art critic

"As intricate interweavings of nature imagery, these works build their own architectonic structures out of visual material. They recombine the visual in a very textual way. The grammar of this imagery is ultimately built in the same intricate but logical way that phrases, sentences and paragraphs are. These visual weavings involve an essential symbolism and layering. While each element is pulled from reality, it is also indeed a detail of some greater intuited reality. Thus reconfigured, Alan McKee's image fragments ultimately metamorphose into sublime artworks. Their sublimity rests upon an acute sense that life itself is a fleeting, and ultimately illusionistic process-part fact, part fiction."

ALAN MCKEE CV

SOLO SHOWS:

Galerie D’este, Montreal, 2007

Gallery IX, Toronto, 2008

Contact Photography Festival Exhibit

 

EXPOS:

Artists Project 2015

Toronto

 

Oxford International Art Fair 2015

Oxford, UK

 

GROUP SHOWS:

 

Ontario Society of Artists

Open Juried Exhibition

Nov 4-Dec 1, 2020

 

Amazing Moss Park Art Collective

September 2020

 

 

Fleck Gallery, Toronto 

Dec 1-Dec 19 2017

 

Red Head Gallery 

Christmas 2017

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Snap To Grid 

December 10-January 2, 2016.

 

Arta Gallery, Distillery Toronto 

April 11 to 28 , 2015

 

Agora Gallery, Chelsea

September 18, 2014 to Oct 7, 2014

New York City, USA

 

Gaia, soul of a planet, Galleria Lambert Brookfield Place Toronto, 2008 International Art On Climate 

Change, ACA Gallery Salon Show April 3rd to 13th 2009

 

ON-LINE GALLERIES:

 

NABS.org Exhibition 

 

MOCA Museum of Computer Art

http://moca.virtual.museum/autogallery2011/autogallery_mckee

Member Center for Fine Art Photography

Scarborough Arts Council Big Art Book 2013 publication of Rain and haiku http://www.lpwalliance.com/

database/Alan_Mckee

 

 

REVIEWS AND PUBLICATIONS:

 

Scarborough Arts Council Big Art Book 2013 publication of Rain and haiku Group show at Project

Gallery, August 2013

 

Empty Easel

http://emptyeasel.com/2016/06/14/alan-mckee-digital-abstract-expressionism/

 

Artslant

https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/40314-alan-mckee-catalogue-edition

 

Publications review by international art critic Edward Lucie- Smith and by John Grande

 

Vie des Arts by international art/nature critic John Grande, 2007

In private collections in Canada, USA and Europe

A Note on Print Materials

  

Most of my prints are printed on Fuji matte paper on the Lightjet, a digital enlarger that produces a print with the same quality and longevity as a high quality darkroom printed photo. They are mounted on aluminum or dibond and  covered with UV protective Plexiglas. In some cases they are face mounted  on plexiglas. See above for a full screen, interactive catalog of all recent works. Occasionally, I also have prints made on Epson inkjet printers.

 

Custom works are available by special request for designers and architects.