Paul D. McKee fabricates sculpture and installations that are both romantic and predatory. The brocaded wallpapers and fabrics, stuffed deer heads, and atmospheres of elegant dereliction lure us in. And then we are ensnared in discomforting juxtapositions between signifiers: familiar and unfamiliar, home and danger, male and female. Antlers, trophies of hunting, an activity associated with masculine faults and virtues, are often fetishized and feminized in McKee’s works. McKee’s self-portraits often take the place of deer faces, bringing up questions of sacrifice, narcissism, and the display of self in the home.
McKee’s deliberate use of artifice and contradiction sheds light on idealized visions of home life and gender, representations of the American dream that have been exclusionary for gay couples and families. In place of an ideal, McKee proposes jumbled, sensual, dilapidated constructs that are both alluring and discomforting. The large-scale installations are theatrical, but they are also life-size and full of familiar objects, the trappings of home. Like microcosms of his installation tableaux, McKee’s stand-alone sculptures conjure up experiences of the uncanny. The trophy heads or antlers offered on elegant pillows excite visual pleasure and psychic disquiet. The conflict between the familiar and the unfamiliar opens up questions about gender, idealized representation, and the places we call home.
McKee earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Wichita State University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts and has amassed an extensive exhibition record. McKee has received recognition, grants, awards, and residencies from institutions such as Visual Overture Magazine, the James Washington Foundation, The UW Henry Art Gallery, and 4Culture. His work can be found in numerous private collections in Europe and the United States. McKee’s curatorial experience includes curating at METHOD Gallery, the Tashiro Kaplan Building since 2010, as well as with multiple local and regional exhibitions.