Still Life by Parking Lot © McConney
Ken McConney Artist
McConney began drawing and painting at an early age. He spent much of his time, watching his father, who had a great facility for rendering and copying paintings. Utrillo was a favorite since the artist's father liked the looseness and the painterly quality of the architecture. This artist often sets up his easel in various locations of Greenwich Village, Washington Square, Union Square Park, and Central Park.
He revisits the nostalgic Washington Square landmarks painted by Edward Hopper, a generation ago. McConney frequents the bohemian cafe scene and jazz clubs on Bleecker Street where many of his artist friends congregate daily for long discussions, chess games, dog runs, and nature studies around the arch in Washington Square Park. He is a painter of the streets and has painted timeless sunsets in the fascinating Meat Market district by the edge of the Hudson River.
This artist was taught the magical quality of this medium. He developed an awareness of paint with its surface quality and texture. With time, he felt an affinity with the 19th Century French Realist painter, Edouard Manet.
Even though Manet was not an Impressionist himself, he set the stage for Impressionism to occur. And then, Manet became known as the Father of Impressionism to the next generation of artists. This artist has been highly influenced by Manet's work with his approach to painting and with his concern for light and color; as well as with his eye for structure and solidity.
The New York Cityscape
For McConney, the Impressionists, were a great influence for him, with their coloristic adventurism.
High on his list are the still lifes and landscapes done by Camille Pissaro and some of the early works of Edgar Degas, that display his unfailing accuracy of draftsmanship and subtle color.
He took long walks around the city searching visually, and eventually created a body of painterly works that celebrate the cityscape.
He began painting scenes of Manhattan which he did on location -- bustling street scenes, bridges and parks, crowds and lonely streets, sunny days, snowy nights, as well as, architectural studies. He is inundated by the mood of the city.
The city is a myriad of intertwining neighborhoods, and McConney so often captures the pop culture that he feels teeming in its endless streets.
McConney is interested in capturing indigenous New York -- from hot dog vendors with their colorful umbrellas to old New York brick townhouses, and brownstones, and signature New York landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.
McConney strives to capture the character, color and the light of his city subjects and landscapes. He has created a series of a myriad of scenes in Central Park. Edward Hopper is one of his favorite American artists, providing an inspiration for him. McConney currently paints daily, in his studio, and then when the weather is good, he paints outdoors as often as possible. Recently he has been doing printmaking -- etchings and lithography.
McConney originally studied advertising design at the New York Phoenix School of Design and after graduation, started working in advertising, eventually becoming an art director.
Several years later, McConney began taking painting classes at the Art Students League of New York. He has facility in the whole spectrum of artists mediums: drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking. And, he is a life-member at the League.
Bridges of Manhattan
McConney's versatility includes a variety of painting mediums including: oils, acrylics, and watercolors. He often paints New York city landmarks such as many of the picturesque bridges over the harbors and waterways surrounding the metropolis. This painter often combines landscape or cityscape with still-life.
McConney is a city artist as well as an official Coast Guard artist.
The Boat Series
McConney's paintings are clearly the product of a modern artist that convey space and scale with great authority, and they articulate the unique atmosphere and activity of New York in a consummate manner.
From the land over the Hudson to the East River, McConney invites the viewer to experience looking out over the horizon, over the top of high-rise and older low-rise buildings; here we are concerned with large masses, big and complex perspectives, both architectually and atmospherically.
Works on Paper
McConney is fluent in his choice of subject matter as well as his versatility with many mediums and ways of working.
McConney deals with composition on many levels. -- bustling traffic below, electric light effects from street level, parking lots, and office buildings. All imbue with great vitality.
McConney's art works have all the constituent elements - height, depth, breadth which are all derived from proper drawing. He is a great observer. Weather is an integral part -- sunlight, cloud, and mist.
Living in New York all his life, McConney, like most New Yorkers, remembers watching the World Trade Center being built in the 1970s. After living with this magnificent landmark for so many years, now and forever, its presence in the city skies today.
McConney's paintings have landscape as their expressed subject, but really what he tries to capture is not so much a place but futther a sense of revelation engendered by an encounter with that place.
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