Evie McKenna

Bio

 

  Evie McKenna is a multimedia artist living and working in Queens, NY. She studied photography and

printmaking at Philadelphia College of Art and received a Masters Degree at the NYU/ICP program. She

has worked in the field of photography as a fine artist, an educator and a photo editor. Her work has been

exhibited in the US, Mexico, Europe as well as online publications. She is a faculty member of the School

of Visual Arts and has been a visiting instructor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn College and Moore College of

Art.

   She has worked as a photo editor and researcher with a number of publishers ranging from The New

Yorker, New York Magazine, People Magazine to Women's Health and Entertainment Weekly. For the past

five years, Evie McKenna has been working with NYC seniors in an Arts Council grant project bringing the

arts to seniors in the SuCasa program of onsite visiting artists.

   Her current work involves drawing with texture on photographic images from the botanical world in ways

that alter the optical plane of focus. This work plays with emotional and visual preferences to see the world

with as much clarity and sharpness as possible. The marks are made with oil pastels primarily and use

underlying image as a template as well as a compositional element. Many artists use photographs as "reference"

but in this work, the photograph is the base note and a kind of map for the final piece. The response to the

photographic picture plane being mechanically reproduced vs. the visceral textural look of the crayon over top

is a response to the excessive amount of imagery in the past decade courtesy of cell phones. The interference

layer of mark making corresponds to a state of mind that is about ambiguity and a stasis that reflects a

current situation of inability to make the changes we might want in our lives or environments due to outside

circumstances. 

 The videos are a commentary on seeing from a stationary point of view in a world that is often moving in

a maniacal way. They are short action, non narrative pieces and they follow a sketch format. The posted 

animations follow a similar trajectory as the new works print category in that they use a botanical subjects

as a place where a recognizable element, like a leaf or a flower garden, is the base layer for a color field

made by drawing and erasure onto the films. Pattern, shape, color and line continue to be the agents of

change within my work. 

 The continued use of botanical work as a base subject has intersected with my cultural background by

reminding me how the power of growing things helped my family as they immigrated to the US. My father

had the job as a boy to help with the hops the family grew to make their own beer. He remembered that it

was the only part of "the old country" that they kept in moving to America. Similarly, my mothers family

grew and preserved most of their food in small backyard garden in Wilmington,Delaware.This identification

with plants as food stuffs and as cultural connectors is parallel with the transportive and positive experience

I am hoping to give the viewers through these animations and print works.