Swanson Contemporary (638 E. Market St.) shows “For the Children of Flowers” by Joe McGee. Brushy, emotional floral paintings pay tribute to backyard family gardening tradition. Opening reception with the artist.
Swanson Contemporary presents For the Children of Flowers New Paintings by Joe McGee
May 27 – July 1, 2017
Republic Bank First Friday Hop Artist Reception, June 2, 6-9pm
Swanson Contemporary, 638 E. Market Street, Louisville, KY, 40202
Gallery Hours: 1-6pm, Wed. thru Sat., Phone: 502-589-5466
For the Children of Flowers
Paintings by Joe McGee
Why flowers? Well, I have always been drawn to them. I grew up here in Louisville with my brothers and sisters surrounded by flowers. My mother Grace (and her mother and her mother before) had flower beds everywhere it seemed. The different colors, shapes and textures fascinated me as a child. And more importantly, we learned early on that flowers were a source of food for insects and birds, and that they in turn pollinated the vegetables and fruit trees my father (along with my maternal grandfather) raised in our large back yard garden. Flowers, beautiful and necessary, a gift for us all from the heavens above as we share this planet together. So here, I attempt to capture, from my mind (these are all imagined works), the beauty and mystery of flowers!
As a lifelong Louisvillian, it is a pleasure to show my take on the time-honored genre of Floral Paintings at Swanson Contemporary. I must admit, when I first began this series at the end of 2016, I had Chuck’s place (with its cool large storefront windows facing Market Street) in mind. And symbolically to me, this section of downtown Louisville, which once thrived as an important agricultural business center/gathering place for the farmers of the region, connects to my own family history. The old Haymarket complex, now long gone, was located only blocks away. There for decades, farmers such as my grandfather, Herman Breitenstein, sold their crops in the huge market complex. And they bought their seeds each year at Bunton Seed, another of the many agricultural supply businesses also formerly located nearby. Most are now long gone, relegated to the history books of Louisville. So, my flowers are a perfect fit at Swanson Gallery, right at home on E. Market Street, part the former bustling center of agricultural life here in Louisville!
Finally, I created this series to honor my parents (Grace Jane and James Hagan McGee) for showing their children the amazing beauty of the natural world we all shared together in our large back yard. There, the many flower beds, fruit trees and the huge vegetable garden taught us that the things we grew were not only beautiful, but connected and vital for our lives. I thank my good parents for the flowers they have given their children! -Joe McGee
Joe McGee, b. 1954. BFA in Sculpture from the University of Louisville in 1986 and making art for well over 35 years.