A large, matriarchal figure stands knee-deep in the water and stares out to sea,
bathed in pale late-afternoon, late-season sunlight; a tattoo artist and his canvas/subject/model gaze at the viewer, a hint
of defiance and tribal pride in their look; a solitary figure sits on the banquette in her local, a glass of wine and a half-finished
pint on the table: not quite alone then.
This is the world of emerging Sheffield artist Pete Mckee, on show at
the Archipelago Art Gallery during November. It is a world peopled with characters whose soulful outlook is drawn with gentle
humour and wry observation, a depiction of the ordinary and everyday that taps into a sense of the heroic and extraordinary
- people trying to be good, to cope, to get through.
For all the rich evocation of character, McKee works through
simple graphic images that owe more to cartoons and seaside postcards than a more fully descriptive painting style. He uses
flat spreads of atmospheric, muted pastel colours reminiscent of the work of Hergé, creator of Tin-Tin, and there is
a hint of Larsen (The Far Side) or Glenn Baxter in the humour and the use of captions in the picture titles. With a cast of
often solitary characters, lonely figures in quiet cafés or on the seashore, the narrative feeling of Edward Hopper's
paintings is also evident in Mckee's work, together with a good touch of northern pathos.
evocative, humorous and sometimes wistful vision is becoming widely known through a series of posters of his work and his
original paintings are increasingly in demand. The show at Archipelago Gallery comprises 30 previously unseen pieces painted
in acrylic on MDF panels, his trademark materials. All pieces are for sale. For details or information contact the gallery.
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