It’s easy to see David McCormick is a visual artist with a sense of humor. Titles like Cloning of America, Miss America and On My Honor all lead us into his world of humor — add skillfulness and an underlying serious message.
McCormick is the first “must-see” exhibit of the 2010 exhibition schedule at Gallery 208, located at Up and Coming Weekly on Rowan Street. Visitors who attend the opening reception or the exhibit later will see a large body of work by a highly respected and extremely skillful artist. An artist who admits his work is “more of an introspective journey.”
The opening reception for McCormick’s one man exhibition is on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 between the hours of 5:30-7:00 p.m. Visitors to the reception will fi nd McCormick to be likeable, his work colorful and a mixed media blast of materials — gouache, India Ink, enamel paint, acrylic paint, pastels, pencil, wax crayon, textural papers, kinds of cardboard, cloth photographs, wire, embroidery thread and more.
David McCormick has been the Chair of the Art Department at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, N.C., since 1993. Local artists who visit the exhibit may recognize his works from a local exhibition or competition. The indulgence now is to be able to see a large body of his work and to see a body of work that is very different than what is being created in the immediate area.
Earning his Master of Arts from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M., McCormick’s major was painting with a minor in drawing. The drawing in his work is a testament to his exceptional skill level; his drawing is the underpinning of his style.
In the work titled On My Honor (pictured above) a group of Boy Scouts are all seated in an outdoor setting. McCormick then adds a series of likely and unlikely objects across the surface of the mixed-media work to prompt perplexity and raise questions about their purpose in the work. A supersized snake slithers across the surface of the picture plane in contrast to a series of diagonal marks, the Boy Scout insignia fl oats, and a small fi re is blazing in the right corner. Details, pattern and repetition unify the variety of textures.
In the mixed media painting titled Cats, McCormick celebrates the idea of “catness” in his sophisticated use of color, contrast of shapes, mixing text and the pictorial, line and plane, washes and opacity. Just as he uses a mix of mediums, he also uses a mix of elements of art and design to create a unifi ed work.
The artist will briefl y speak at the reception and answer questions about his work. McCormick will address the direction of his artwork and how it “has evolved to become more auto-biographical in recent years.”
He stated, “I believe it’s a given that most creative people in the arts draw on their lives for their work, but I intentionally used my life experiences for this body of work. I recollected both positive and negative influences, actions, people and events that have impacted my thinking and incorporated it all into my artwork. As a result, the artwork has become increasingly, very personal.”
In talking to McCormick about this body of work he shared that he did not want to only show the autobiographical direction, but that he wanted to share some of the positive and negative infl uences. He noted, “The work titled One Small Step is a celebration of my time when I worked at NASA and the Apollo program as an artist. The painting titled Cats simply expresses my love of the many felines I have owned.
“Others are much darker and sadder and double as an attempt to work things out for myself. The work titled Eye of the Storm is about a bad relationship; Skyway is about the growing pains of boyhood; and the work titled 621 Mockingbird is about an early lesson on the preciousness of beauty and life,” he continued.
For me, the best thing about seeing the body of work by McCormick is that his work is fresh and very different from what people in the area are accustomed to seeing. Not only does he rely heavily upon drawing in his work, but he also has an exacting way in which he approaches the narrative in painting and drawing. He has a masterful use of composition, layout and design.
His personal history as an artist is interesting and varied. Between earning two degrees, he worked in Houston for several years in two different television stations as an artist, cameraman, set constructor, light technician and photographer.
Early in his artistic career McCormick worked for Lockheed Electronics and TRW, Inc. as a graphic artist and draftsman. Both corporations were under contract to NASA and were related to the space program or the Earth Resources Program. McCormick worked on the Apollo missions 11, 12 and 13. Later he worked at NASA for several years as a technical artist before becoming a college art educator.
During the past 27years he has worked at four different educational institutions in four states: Kansas, Wyoming, Louisiana and North Carolina. McCormick is in his 16th year at Southeastern Community College.
At Southeastern McCormick teaches art classes, doubles as the gallery director, created and has managed two annual national shows during the past 12 years: Watermark and Frameless. A dedicated member of the faculty he has taken students and faculty on seven different tours to Europe and will be on his eighth tour to England this May.
McCormick’s expertise is evident in the more than 100 one-person exhibitions, national competitions and invitational exhibitions he has participated in during the last 25 years. To name only a limited number of the places he has exhibited would include St. John’s Museum of Art in Wilmington, N.C., The Downtown Gallery in New Orleans, Gallerie Verlag in Vienna, Austria, International Gallery in Kanazawa, Japan, and Southdown Museum in Houma, La.
Visitors to Gallery 208 will quickly understand why McCormick was selected to be the fi rst artist in an exhibition schedule coordinated by the newly formed Visual Art Alliance. During the year each member organization of the alliance will assume the responsibility of coordinating an exhibit.
Works by David McCormick was coordinated by Chris Kastner, executive director of the Cape Fear Studios. Works by David McCormick opens Jan. 21, at 5:30 p.m. and closes in early March. Visitors who do not attend the open reception can see the exhibit during regular work week hours at Gallery 208, Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. For information call Kastner at the Cape Fear Studios, (910) 433-2986.