Robert McAn

Identity Theory

Opening Reception: Gallery Night, Saturday, September 6, 2 - 9 PM



Self-Portrait (A. F. Oct. 2007), 2008
Robert McAn
Self-Portrait (A. F. Oct. 2007), 2008
Mixed-media on canvas
48 x 48 inches

The pristine energy of Robert McAn’s art vibrates at a supersonic level, creating a resonant and paradoxical silence in which thoughts can breathe and expand. Whether the piece is one of McAn’s lyrical sculptures or one of his latest works on canvas, its cool intensity seizes the imagination. The form is deceptively simple, yet the content permits layer upon layer of reflection.

McAn is known for his sculptures that include handmade, small-scale trees, oddly dimensioned chairs, and other shapes, as well as miniature found objects. The composition of these “open ended poems” is deliberately unexpected, nudging perception into uncharted territory. A recent, more abstract sculpture is a very narrow, six-foot ladder set into a mirror base. Painted a brilliant yellow, it preempts the viewer’s attention and then “disappears” into a hole in the floor, an illusion created by the mirror.

“This past year, I have been thinking about the next step,” says McAn. “I wanted to work on canvas. I wanted to express my viewpoint in new ways.” He found his logical progression close at hand, as artists do. McAn, a human dynamo, began a dual career in studio art and arts management while still in graduate school. His longtime position as membership and special events manager at the Kimbell Art Museum involves him in a deluge of paper. In the normal course of shredding documents one day, something clicked. He observed the sculptural possibilities in the tumble of paper strips, as well as the theoretical content of the forever-altered physical subject. Back at the studio, he began to shred his personal papers and ephemera: very old tax returns, credit card statements, mortgage documents, and art magazines. He found a whole new artistic and visual vocabulary, a touchstone for intellectual evolution as well as a medium that promises rich avenues of exploration and experimentation.

Self-Portrait (A. F. Nov. 2007), 2008
Robert McAn
Self-Portrait (A. F. Nov. 2007), 2008
Mixed-media on canvas
36 x 12 inches

“I like to work fast,” he says, “and I love the idea of using what comes into our lives every day. Each part of the creation is outside myself, so working with these topical materials becomes self-referential but not emotional. The culture is doing it; I’m not attached to it.” McAn soaks the shreds in glue, sprays them with glue again, then mounts them on canvas. In the process, he refines the visual chatter into disciplined poetry. The final outcome is subtle and elegant almost to the point of austerity, but it buzzes and crackles like a high-voltage wire.

Part of McAn’s museum job consists of signing his name to documents on a constant basis. “Our signature becomes more who we are than who we are,” he observes. And yet, there is a certain anonymity to that process. He alludes to it by using a rubber stamp that says “confidential” on the surface of some collages, signaling that there is a lot more underneath. With economy of means and understated wit, McAn delineates the procedure by which documents create (and shred) our identities with absolutely no influence from us. Society and the government, he suggests, define our lives through the data generated during a lifetime.

- Suzanne Deats

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday through Friday 10am-5:30pm
Saturday 11am-4pm
and by appointment

Please contact Pam or Bill Campbell at or at 817-737-9566 for more information.

Previous Exhibitions

 GALLERY ARTISTS - Recent Works: JUNE 21 - AUGUST 23, 2008

 Ken Dixon - SACRED LANDSCAPES: May 10 - June 14, 2008

 Julie Lazarus - ABSTRACTED REFLECTIONS: March 29 - May 3, 2008

 Bob Wade - GUSHERS + MORE: FEB. 16 - MAR. 22, 2008

 Tom Hollenback - ACRYLIC & STEEL: NOV. 30, 2007 - JAN. 6, 2008

 Jake Gilson - WALL RELIEFS & WORKS ON PAPER: OCT. 19 - NOV. 24, 2007

 Jane Helslander - FIELD PRESENCE: SEPT. 8 - OCT. 13, 2007

 Summer Mix - Works from artists represented by the gallery: June 30th - August 4th, 2007

 The Nature Conservancy of Texas - Photographs Celebrate Texas Nature: May 12th - June 23rd, 2007

 Joachim Kersten - DIGITALIS PURPUREA: March 31 - May 5, 2007

 Janus-style New Year's Exhibition - Looking Forward / Looking Back: January 19 - February 28, 2007

 New and Emerging Texas Talent - Show Offs II: December 1, 2006 - January 13, 2007

 Bernd Haussmann - RECOLLECT: October 21 - November 25, 2006

 Dalton Maroney - CROSSINGS: September 9 - October 14, 2006

 Group exhibition - MAN-I-FEST: June 24 - August 5, 2006

 Patrick Kelly - I Want Eye Candy: May 13 - June 11, 2006

 Carol Benson - ATTACHMENTS: April 1 - April 30, 2006

 Cecil Touchon - VISUAL POETRY: February 18 - March 26, 2006

 Randall Reid & STEVE MURPHY - HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE: December 2, 2005 – January 14, 2006,

 RICHARD THOMPSON - Mindful Wading: October 22 – November 26, 2005

 JOHN HOLT SMITH - Work by Tarrant County artists: June 25 – August 6, 2005


 KEVIN TOLMAN - PAINTINGS + DRAWINGS: May 14 – June 18, 2005

 SEVAN MELIKYAN - ‘AFTER’ SERIES II: April 2 – May 2, 2005

 A FOCUSED VISION - Group Exhibition: February 11 – March 26, 2005

 SCOTTIE PARSONS - NEW PAINTINGS: December 3, 2004 – January 8, 2005

 J.T. GRANT - BÊTE NOIRE: September 18 – October 23, 2004

 SURFACE - Group Exhibition: June 19 – September 4, 2004

 JUDY YOUNGBLOOD - NEW WORK: May 1 - June 5, 2004

William Campbell Contemporary Art
4935 Byers Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76107
PHONE: (817) 737-9566, FAX: (817) 737-5466
Gallery One Frames - (817) 737-9571

William Campbell Contemporary Art
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Tuesday – Friday
11:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday
and by appointment
Gallery One Frames
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday
11:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday