Kieran McGonnell: Round Trip Ticket

“Choreography” oil on canvas

Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery, Chicago, IL: April 11 – July 6, 2014
First Installment Reception: Friday, April 11, 6-10pm
Second Installment Reception: Friday, May 9, 6-10pm

Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery is pleased to present, Kieran McGonnell: Round Trip Ticket, a major 3-month exhibition showcasing the 20+ year span body of work created by the late prolific artist.

The first month of the exhibition, opening April 11, 6-10pm, will feature many of his early works on paper and canvas which were heavily influenced by the medieval Celtic mythology of his native homeland of Ireland: large watercolors and oils awash with gorgeous colors evoking haunting visual forms reminiscent of Beckett and Yeats.

The second installment of the show, opening May 9th, 6-10pm, will focus on his later, more well-known and “accessible” subject matter: vibrantly colored and evocative koi fish, butterflies, bicycles, buses and Warholian Pop Art designs juxtaposed over concentric circles of celebrity icons and witty social commentary. Also to be prominently featured in the show are some amazing never-before-exhibited portraits and multimedia works painted in acrylic on mini-blinds, originally created as backdrops for stage productions for leading modern dance companies.

Born in Cork City, Ireland in 1967, Kieran McGonnell came to the United States to study Art and Art History at Hunter College in New York City. It was around this time Kieran met his life partner, Gregg Driben, who convinced him to quit his day job and paint full time. Kieran developed his technique over a long period of time and worked ‘round the clock nonstop, always striving to perfect his craft. By using a combination of hand made oil colors and industrial spray paints, he created thought provoking works that are unique with a vibrant finish. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Kieran and Gregg decided to leave New York and bought a home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They returned to NYC a few years later, only to leave NYC for good in 2010 to move to Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. Kieran’s tragic accident happened weeks later and he died at the age of 43 in January 2011 due to complications following a traumatic head injury.

McGonnell developed a large underground following in NYC, Chicago, Ireland and beyond. His work remains highly sought after and was featured extensively on both sides of the Atlantic and has been profiled in numerous publications throughout the US and in Ireland, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, Irish Tribune and Irish Business Post.  In an article entitled ‘Top 40 under 40’, McGonnell was selected as one of the top Irish success stories living in the US today. His work was used as the backdrop for the Fall 2000 New York Fashion previews for the prominent Men’s Fashion Magazine, D.N.R.  He also painted stage designs for Sean Curran Modern Dance Company’s “Six Laments”, which has been touring the U.S. since its premiere at Jacob’s Pillow Modern Dance Festival in 1999.

Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery, 1750 S. Union Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

Lopsided Heart: Paintings and Assemblages by Vivienne Marie

turtle boy

Turtle Boy

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The first book I remember is “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams. Her words are the best ones to describe my work with old things. To me they are alive. When I bring them home, many are orphaned, faded, disjointed, and missing pieces. By bringing them together in new ways, I hope to uncover their beauty and foster a feeling of appreciation from a world that is now drastically different.

Vivienne Marie is a self-taught artist and painter who works in film, television, theater and commercial spaces. A transplant from Minnesota via California, she enjoys classic film, carnival memorabilia, vintage signs, and 1930’s jazz. She lives on the south side of Chicago with her hounds, Hank and Willa.

Where: Ugly Step Sister Art Gallery, 1750 S. Union Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

When: Friday, November 8, 2013, 6 – 11pm

November 8 – December 8, 2013