Robert McCauley: American Fiction
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) presented American Fiction, a solo exhibition of the work of Robert McCauley. American Fiction was co-curated by Greg Robinson (BIMA) and Kathleen Moles (Museum of Northwest Art – MoNA, in La Conner, Washington). Bainbridge Island Museum of Art also published a book in conjunction with the exhibition, available for purchase in our Museum Store. This exhibition was featured at BIMA in fall 2017/winter 2018 and moved to MoNA in spring, 2018.
American Fiction featured over 35 paintings, drawings, and assemblage works borrowed from regional and national collectors, art museums, galleries, and McCauley’s personal collection. This major exhibition focused on works from the 1990s forward, after McCauley’s art shifted largely to painting.
McCauley’s main themes in his work revolve around worlds in collision, addressing topics of cultural displacement and destruction, as well as our relationships with nature and the environment. While his works speak to global issues, he uses iconic and familiar subjects of the Northwest, such as bears, mountains, and fishing holes. McCauley also draws from themes and periods in Western art history and literature. His paintings are surreal, juxtaposing the natural world and humankind, lending to deeper layers of meaning. McCauley wants viewers to revisit and question history in order to collectively forge a better destiny.
Robert McCauley was born in 1946 and raised in Mount Vernon, Washington. Coming from generations of loggers, his childhood was full of watching forests fall, something that proved to be rather difficult for him. Originally interested in oceanography, he switched to art in college. McCauley graduated from Western Washington University in 1969, and earned a Master of Fine Arts from Washington State University in 1972. The same year he became a professor of art at Rockford College in Illinois (now Rockford University). He also served for many years as Art Department Chair until he retired in 2008. Since returning to Mount Vernon in 2008 he has continued to paint full time.
McCauley has been the recipient of several fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982, the Illinois Arts Council, and a research grant on Kwakwaka’wakw Culture, Vancouver Island from Rockford. He has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions.
McCauley is represented locally by Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle, and nationally by Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho, Valley Fine Arts in Aspen, Colorado, Visions West Contemporary in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, and Altamira Fine Art in Wyoming and Arizona.
In the News
Review by Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times