BIZARRE DELIGHT

January 26 – February 28, 2022

Jennifer Baahng Gallery is pleased to announce BIZARRE DELIGHT, Michael McClard’s solo exhibition and third exhibition at the gallery.  BIZARRE DELIGHT showcases two dozen pastel drawings produced between 1983 and 1984 that have been largely unseen for many years, and is a singular opportunity for the New York audience to experience the artist’s revelatory work.  The exhibition will run from January 26 through February 28, 2022.  

BIZARRE DELIGHT is a pantheon of imaginary characters – grotesque or elegant, phantasmal or archetypal – that beckons our human interest in identifying faces and registering the meaning behind a face’s expression.  These works are neither portraits nor cartoons, but occasional drawings, and are notable not just for the character or icon depicted, but their facial expressions.  Expression is the cinema of what is in our minds.  In his works, which seethe with figurative content and mine a strong vein of humor, the artist has used expression to say something.

Michael McClard draws in authenticity.  He made these works by simply giving in to the impulse to make gestural, uncontrived marks on a surface, and then elaborating on what those marks suggested.  Born out of his personal stream of consciousness, the resulting art objects are neither bounded by stylistic nor topical constraints, and though idiosyncratic in nature, offer the possibility of speaking universally to other members of the human collective in the affirmative.  These fantastical drawings, which so deftly contain the fleeting moments captured in one’s expression, were born out of the artist’s simple desire to create them:  “I make these objects to amuse myself and because I want them in my world.”

Born in 1947, Michael McClard received his BFA in 1971 from the San Francisco Art Institute with a Peabody Award in Sculpture.  He is the recipient of two National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships, in multimedia and as a visual artist. He was also the founding member and first president of the New York City artists’ group Collaborative Projects Inc. (“Colab”).  His works have been exhibited in many notable shows, including at the Whitney Museum of Art, Foundation Cartier pour l’Art contemporain in France, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, MoMA PS1, Queens Museum in New York, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and a large feature solo show at the Mary Boone Gallery.  His art has been reviewed and featured in The New York Times, Bomb Magazine, Art Forum, Art in America, The New York Magazine, and The Village Voice.  He has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the San Francisco Art Institute in California, and Parsons School of Design in New York. 

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