October 21 – November 22, 2017

Press Release





OCTOBER 21 - NOVEMBER 22, 2017



(Los Angeles, CA) - DENK gallery is pleased to announce its first solo exhibition of new works by gallery artist Kelly McLane. McLane is represented in several major institutional collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as well as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and UCLA's Hammer Museum.


In her newest body of work Peckerwoods, McLane explores the darker dimensions of contemporary American culture. Finding beauty in both its abhorrent and redemptive aspects, McLane looks to nature as a trope for a widespread sense of ideological sickness.


As allegories for a persistent condition of cultural dysfunction, her drawings and paintings invoke a near-hallucinatory impression of a self-cannibalizing world. Dedicated in parts to character studies of off-the-grid neighbors, her imagery harnesses the disquieting vision of an irreversibly violent and extroverted masculine world, perverse and unhinged in its aggression and dogmatism.


In the artist's words, “Cultural DEMENTIA” is the softest sentence to describe the overripe putrification of today's "end time” as it seems. The cheap cologne, blood and sweat of tiki torchers and suicide bombers, our country reeks of Peckerwoods. This word BELONGS to our culture. Its history and contemporary derivatives from prison gangs to political pundits - the overt MASCULINITY of today’s world is overwhelming."


McLane's work is fundamentally drawing-based, her paintings themselves retain traces of that deliberate mark of the edge, drawing's unique domain. In this new series of paintings on panel and works on paper, the large-format paintings themselves are wrought into existence through an active and physical process of gouging and burning - the excision of line becomes the logical outcome of drawing as a process, eliciting as its most extreme a feeling of laceration or scarification and physical graffiti. Using wood panel substrates for the paintings, she layers the surfaces with colored gesso, oil, and acrylic, excavating, and branding them through accumulation and subtraction - a veritable geology of kinesics. 


Her use of negative space in the sparse suite of drawings imparts a feeling of calculated pause to offset the profusion of louder spaces. The areas she chooses to leave untouched are just as important as the choices made in rendering. Figures emerge, as though drawn from within the surfaces themselves, at times ghostly, delicate and ill-defined and at others outlandishly asserted distortions. 


The absurd reigns in McLane’s depictions of daily life teetering on the grotesque. Deeply flawed with moments of redeeming beauty and evidence of survival, McLane visually unpacks the cultural fallacies of systemic machismo and bigotry, never forgetting to punctuate the images with our conflicted inheritance: the imminent rhetoric of our shared human bondage.


"There are always meditations and daydreams of better times throughout, infused with finery and detail to sustain and articulate these subjects with hopes and compassion for our species. While we are at our scientific heights with creative breakthroughs and tools to communicate beyond our zeniths, we are tethered by unexpected zealotry, bigotry and outrage. In the fight for determining the primacy of nature the gods left out the nurture somewhere in between."




Kelly McLane completed a BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri and an MFA at UC Davis in California.


Her works are in several notable public collections including, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, UCLA's Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, San Diego Museum of Modern Art, San Diego, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, and National Gallery of Art, Washington.