Swimming Upstream

Drawings by Hugh McKay

July 12th - September 28th

Reception for the Artist Friday July 12th

untitled, 9/15/17  pastel on paper

untitled, 9/15/17
pastel on paper

MAP/REVOLVE is pleased to present this Washington DC artists’ first solo show of exquisitely executed graphite drawings.

Artist Statement
Swimming Upstream refers to both the dynamics of life lived within a current and my own creative labors. These drawings reflect my dual interests in metaphorical narrative and visual design. Metaphorically, I render water as time, its currents being inescapable and eternal. The fish portray time’s counterpart by being captive and mortal.  One cannot exist without the other and to that end I blur their separation by visually melding figure and ground while also conflating surface pattern and atmospheric depth. My goal is to express this essential duality in both form and content.

That said, on their face, these drawings are also inspired by the twelve-for-a-dollar goldfish residing in my own backyard. It is the telling of meta-narratives through these humble players that compels me. What I, a devoted swimmer, have discovered is that sometimes one has to swim upstream because depth can be found in the shallows of the everyday. 

 Hugh McKay, June, 2019

About Hugh
Born in Maine, raised in New Mexico and Louisiana, Hugh McKay settled in the Washington DC area in 1972, studying painting at the Corcoran School of Art and earning a B.A. in Art from George Washington University. Technical theatre became his focus and he worked for theatres and scenery studios. Scenic painting lead to mural work and McKay spent the next twenty-five years creating murals for clients such as the Smithsonian museums, the National Parks Service, and the Library of Congress. He progressively embraced digital methods over traditional ones as computer aided design technology became available and was at the vanguard of creating large-scale digital prints. (see mural portfolio at www.mckayscheer.com). In 2011, McKay left his career as a muralist and illustrator to pursue his ambition to develop a personal artistic identity. He began this transition with plien air painting for its immediacy and responsiveness of both subject and medium. As his past illustrative style gave way to a looser and more spontaneous one, McKay turned to drawing to furthered his focus on mark-making and surface


details of the work from Swimming Upstream