Robert McCann

Associate Professor, Foundations Coordinator

P 517-353-9487

600 Auditorium Road, 317 Kresge Art Center



Robert McCann was born and raised in southwest Missouri. He earned a BFA in studio art at Missouri State University in 1996 and a Master of Fine Art degree in painting from Indiana University at Bloomington in 2001. Later that year he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to paint in Berlin, Germany. Returning to the US in Fall 2002, he taught at Missouri State University in Springfield and later at Washington University in St. Louis. Recent venues of exhibition include the Dayton Visual Art Center, Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, 621 Gallery in Tallahassee, Artbox Gallery in Indianapolis, and the Ormond Memorial Art Museum in Ormond Beach, Florida. In Spring 2011 his work may be seen in a solo exhibition at the Soo Visual Art Center in Minneapolis.



My paintings have focused on imagery that can be read as at once allegorical and absurd.  I'm attracted  to the number of simultaneous intentions  and cross-purposes that can be acted out in a single painting. The painting can become more real and more abstract, more personal and universal, more constructive  and deconstructive.    Often the elaborately  staged narratives  of my paintings are an accumulation of questions, visual analogies that are added up on canvas.


The use of long running TV shows, cartoon characters, and movie versions of folkloric monsters give the paintings a comic-tragic  back story and functions as  implicit  critique of our fragmenting language in the information age.  So while each of my paintings is about what happens between four corners (the cast of "Cops" invades the set of "Fear Factor") they also deal with issues of personal mythology  and the awkwardness of making a meaningful, singular image in a fast food culture.


Whereas  photographic  sourcing has become common shorthand for painters to reference the mediated experience, I'm interested  in heightening  that image-consciousness in subject and form.   I work from life, drawings, photo collages, and imagination, mindful of a sort of image soup that links the Renaissance to the Postmodern to a billboard  or a comic book.  Our memory of the photo is shorthand for something  measurable or taken for granted.   I'm painting in the longhand, where the self conscious construction  might confound that tendency to find the subject on the surface.


I leave myself plenty of room to paint.