April 9 — May 14, 2022

Briefly Gorgeous

Marcelyn McNeil

Conduit Gallery is honored to present Briefly Gorgeous, a solo exhibition of recent paintings by Dallas-based artist Marcelyn McNeil.

Through her experimental approach to painting and process, McNeil challenges traditional assumptions about abstraction to produce works that remind us of the lyrical power of painting in an ever-challenging contemporary moment. The tension in her work enables the chance to engage slowly with the macro-view of the composition and the micro-view of the palimpsest layers. Spare and deliberate forms celebrate the evocative power of color interfolded with soft pours to invite contemplation. Each thin layer on the raw canvas becoming a luminous veil to deeply sensuous effect.

Says McNeil: “In this iteration of paintings, “gravity fed pours” are the heart of the work. Somewhat raw, unfiltered and exposed, these canvases are the most vulnerable and personal to date. Gone are the whites, blacks and greys I have recently relied upon to edit and cover my grounds. This work grapples with ways of seeing, material presence, what is necessary, what’s unnecessary, and how to ride that illusive line where there’s just enough information for the paintings to hold together. Ocean Vuong’s title “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”, captures a space I’d like to find in the work, a place that is at once affirmative and melancholic.

The mechanics of a thing. Through systems of gravity fed pours, I’ve become a bit of a bystander in my own painting process. What I mean by this is my “hand in the work”, or my dexterity, are largely mute when pouring paint. Layers of thinned pigment are poured one atop another and left untouched to settle out, at will, on the canvas surface. The methods and systems I use in making paintings are slow, contemplative and to a degree beyond my control. Having said that, this wouldn’t be my work if I didn’t introduce graphic punctuations. Strong graphics serve as an influencer, conversation starter, and are structurally and spatially grounding.”

Marcelyn McNeil holds a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR) and an MFA from University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has been shown widely across the United States—including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, and Dallas—in commercial, nonprofit, university, and museum spaces. Within Texas, McNeil has exhibited in multiple biennials and at the San Antonio Museum of Art, Galveston Arts Center, Lawndale Art Center (Houston), Conduit Gallery (Dallas), and others. From 2012 to 2014, McNeil taught painting at the University of Houston as visiting artist faculty. She has participated in residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, 100 W Corsicana, and MacDowell Colony, and she has been a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant nominee. Additional awards include the Milton and Sally Avery Fellowship, Zeta Orionis Fellowship, Purchase Award (Portland Art Museum), and Community Arts Assistance Program Grant (the City of Chicago).

Her monograph Marcelyn McNeil: Works will be released by Radius Books on July 5, 2022.

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