contemporary art

Keegan McHargue

United States 1982

Sculpture, Painting, Assemblage Art

Keegan McHargue
Keegan McHargue
United States
February 8, 2015

Keegan McHargue is an American artist, recognized for his semi-abstract mixed-media paintings and colorful assemblages that blend identifiable figures with objects of the artist’s imagination, filled with unexpected juxtapositions.

McHargue was born in 1982, in Portland, Oregon. Raised in an artistic household, the artist noted that his mother encouraged drawing exercises, such as drawing objects upside down and backwards. By the age of 21, Keegan was already being seen as an important emerging artist to watch. His claim in the contemporary art scene was profiled in the prescient Wall Street Journal article The 23-Year Old Masters.

As a painter, sculptor, choreographer, and musician, Keegan McHargue is concerned with the tension between tragedy and comedy that lies behind the banality of everyday life. Fascinated with the subconscious, his work is as much about revealing himself and forcing the viewer to engage with his associations as it is about anything else. He exemplifies a new kind of artist who employs a kind of multitasking approach to synthesis and a kaleidoscopic penchant for changing forms and ordered randomness. McHargue expresses the subconscious with fantastic imagery and incongruous pairings of subject matter. His fascination with music, the act of painting with the television on, and his art-infused upbringing all compete as influences, particularly inspired by music for his use of color and abstraction.

In their own playful way, the paintings of Keegan McHargue tug at the very nature of perception, where optical magic comes from a strikingly flat universe, a place where foreground and background are irrelevant, and the eye is drawn to nowhere and everywhere at once. He also enjoys removing objects from their natural landscape and placing them in a neutral or negative context to draw them out. By isolating and simplifying the object, he strips it to its essential details which allows the viewer to see it without distraction. McHargue engages with decorative thinking itself, placing the figure and ornament on equal levels of his visual hierarchy. In this way, his work is an expression of his worldview, in which impartiality and ambiguity are favored over opinions and clarity. Some of McHargue’s drawings and sculptures regurgitate and revivify the vocabulary of design – corporate logos, punk-rock fonts, and tablecloths – with an obsessive child’s attention to detailed, artisanal patterns. As the artist himself states, ‘I’m not trying to make some bold point in my work – I’m just trying to play with imagery.’

His debut solo shows in New York in 2003 at the Wrong Gallery and Rivington Arms were followed by many other group and solo exhibitions in various venues in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Keegan McHargue is based in New York, where he creates in his studio, which is an old classroom in a defunct Catholic school in Brooklyn.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
2013Prick of ConscienceFredericks and Freiser Gallery, New YorkSolo
2013Merge VisibleHorton Gallery, New YorkGroup
2013Draw GymKnowMoreGames & 247365, Brooklyn New YorkGroup
2013Loosely BasedUnion St. Studios, Brooklyn New YorkGroup
2013Chicken or BeefThe Hole, New YorkGroup
2013Space is the PlaceHouse Pirovino, Basel, CHGroup
2012Casa de EmpenoAnonymous Gallery, Mexico City Group
2012In the GardenUtopian Slums, Melbourne Australia Group
2012Habeus CrpusHalsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton New YorkGroup
2012Face of a GenerationThe Hole, New YorkGroup
2012SpacedJack Hanley Gallery, New YorkGroup
2012When does Something… Become Something Else: ROLU Artist in ResidenceWalker Art Museum, Minneapolis MNGroup
2011Light SleeperFredericks and Freiser Gallery, New YorkSolo
2011NaturalFrey Norris Gallery, San FranciscoSolo
2011Keegan McHargueJeanroche Dard, Paris FranceSolo
2011GumptionZieher Smith Galler, New YorkGroup
2011New York Minute IIGarage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow Group
2011Cover Version LPBAM Brooklyn, NYGroup
2011Gates of Heaven: Keegan McHargue, Devendra Banhart, Adam TullieGallerie Patricia Armocida, Milan ItalyGroup
2011Control GroupNoma Gallery, San Francisco, CA Group
2010Man BurningW___, New York, NY Solo
2010Stella LuminosaElectric Works, San Francisco, CAGroup
2010This is Where We Get OffMax Fish, New York, NY Group
2010Man Burning I: GlasserW___ New York, NYGroup
2010Man Burning II: HoutonW___ New York, NYGroup
2010Man Burning III: YemenwedW___ New York, NYGroup
2010ChumsSpace 1520, Los Angeles CA Group
2010A Furnished LandscapeCenter for Performance Research, New York, NYGroup
2010ImpressionsBeams Gallery, TokyoGroup
2010Not Quite Open for BusinessThe Hole, New York NYGroup
2010Skakeouttttttt: The Sea Giveth, The Sea Taketh AwayMarina 29 Far Rockaway, NY Group
2010The Power of SelectionWestern Exhibitions, Chicago ILGroup
2010A Ways A WayHalf Gallery New York , NYGroup
2010X-Mas in JulyYvon Lambert Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2010New Useless MachinesOAK, New YorkGroup
2010Default State NetworkMorgan Lehman Gallery, New YorkGroup
2010Not Quite Open for BusinessTHE HOLE, New YorkGroup
2009In Memory of Painting: Keegan McHargueLayr Wuestenhagen Contemporary, Vienna, AustriaSolo
2009Partisan GalleryPartisan Gallery, San FranciscoGroup
2009American Art NowLES Gallery, Vancouver BC CanadaGroup
2009New York MinuteMARCO Museum Roma, Italy Group
2008Well ChargeGalerie Emmanuel Perrotin, ParisSolo
2008Imaginary RealitiesMax Wigram Gallery, LondonGroup
2007The Yellow SpectrumJack Hanley Gallery, San FranciscoSolo
2007Mauve DeepHiromi Yoshii Gallery, TokyoSolo
2007The MelvinsMandrake, Los AngelesGroup
2007…What Will be Told of Today Tomorrow: KölnShow2European Kunsthalle, KölnGroup
2006Air Above Mountains (Building Within)Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris Solo
2006The Control GroupMetro Pictures, New YorkSolo
2006Only the Paranoid SurviveHudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New YorkGroup
2006Panic Room- Works from the Dakis Joannou CollectionDESTE Foundation, AthensGroup
2006Air Above Mountains (Building Within)Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, ParisGroup
2005Drawing CirclesHiromi Yoshi Gallery, Tokyo Solo
2005Building for WaterJack Hanley Gallery, Los AngelesSolo
2005Bay Area Now 4Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco Group
2005Gallery ArtistsJack Hanley Gallery, Los Angeles Group
2005Artist for White ColumnsWhite Columns, New York Group
2005Art Review: Top 25 Emerging ArtistsPhillips de Pury, New York Group
2005Yo mire un garza mora dandole combate a un rioAtelier Cardenas Bellanger, ParisGroup
2004The Suns' Son Mends Man's Path, StatementsArt Basel, Miami BeachSolo
2004Feel the WindJack Hanley Gallery, Jack Hanley Annex, San FranciscoSolo
2004IncantationsMetro Pictures, New York Group
2004Deliver Us From EvilMatthew Marks Gallery, New York Group
2004Lo-Gressive Living: Works on Paper from the San Francisco Bay AreaThe Approach Gallery, LondonGroup
2004Majority WhipWhite Box, New YorkGroup
2004Dessins et des AutreGalerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris Group
2004Mental SpaceWendy Cooper Gallery, Madison Group
2004PaperworkSavage Art Resources, Portland, Oregon Group
2004PaperworkK48 Funhouse, Deitch Projects, New YorkGroup
2003The Wolfman ComethRivington Arms, New YorkSolo
2003Keegan McHargueThe Wrong Gallery, New York Solo
2003We Are ElectricDeitch Projects, New York Group
2003Blatant LocalismLeo Koenig Annex, New York Group
2003Today's ManHiromi Yoshii Gallery, Tokyo Group
2003Today's ManJohn Connelly Presents, New York Group
2003RetreatPeres Projects, Los Angeles Group
2003Teenage Rebel: The Bedroom ShowGalerie du Jour, Agnes b., Paris Group
2003Dirt WizardsBrooklyn Fire Proof Inc., New York Group
2003Russel Simmons' Art for Life Auction PreviewKenny Schachter ConTEMPorary, New York Group
2003Group ShowPNCA, Gallery 500, PortlandGroup
2002Alife StoreDeitch Projects, New York Group
2002Alife StoreRoberts and Tilton, Los Angeles Group
2002No WarLuggage Store Gallery, San Francisco Group
2002From the TrenchesNew Image Arts, Los Angeles Group
2002Skate on WallNagoya Parko Museum Galleries, Tokyo Group
2002Skate on WallRocket Japan, TokyoGroup