Kim MacConnel

Kim MacConnel was a leader in the Pattern and Decoration movement that flourished on the coasts (particularly California) in the 1970s and 1980s, against the prevailing tide of Minimalism. Born in Oklahoma City in 1946, MacConnel studied painting at the University of California, San Diego, receiving his BA in 1969 and his MFA in 1972. He then taught at the school from 1975 to 2009. The loose-knit group of artists working in the Pattern and Decoration style, including MacConnel, was influenced by global textiles, ancient pattern motifs, and folk and kitsch culture, putting a bohemian spin on American traditional crafts. The lyrical abstraction of twentieth century artists such as Arthur Dove, Sonia Delaunay and the later works of Henri Matisse also figured prominently into the bright colors, rhythmic compositions and approachability of the works. MacConnel’s paintings are done on unstretched canvas or cotton (sometimes even bed sheets) and are often cut up and re-combined, furthering his intent to play with the notions of materiality, symbol and meaning. His work first rose to prominence with the support of Holly Solomon Gallery in New York beginning in 1976 and he continues to work in his arresting, subversive style. MacConnel’s works are held in such distinguished collections as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. A show featuring the work of MacConnel and other artists part of the Pattern and Decoration movement is the subject of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles' exhibition With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985.

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