Artist on the Block
RR: McConney, the artist of the block, paints his favorite building: a
fire station in New York city. Why these buildings?
M: "I adore these old buildings. They remind me of the past and they
are replete with interest and personality."
RR: The artist presents reality, with, simplicity, and nostalgia. I notice
immediately that is the case . . . that his works remind me of Hopper, in fact,
M: "That is the case. Edward Hopper together with Manet and other Impressionists
have inspired me a lot. Art gives me the possibility to express and participate
in everything that surrounds me. I am also conscious of life's exigencies, thus
I often paint what I feel might sell."
RR: When did you begin painting and how did it lead up to your present
M: "I began my career early while observing my father painting boats
or the ocean."
RR: Your formation?
M: "Noticeable: The New York Phoenix School of Design, The School of
Visual Arts. And, finally The Art Students League of New York, where I studied
since 1974 becoming then a Life Member"
RR: Tell me , do you objectively like your art? He smiles and responds:
M: "That's a great question because I want to be detached and observe
my creations. The answer is not immediate. In a certain sense, I like what I
like and I like what I do because it gives me space and vision, not because I
feel compelled or anything. Anyway, I get great satisfaction."
RR: Where have you exhibited?
M: "Well, in the United States, my works appear in many private collections;
and galleries in several American cities. Well, one of works, that was originally
done for the Coast Guard Art Collection, now adorns the Pentagon."
RR: May we enter McConney's world? How does your subject matter come about?
M: "In my mind's eye, there is a mixture of scenes from everyday life
in a background of domesticity. I see snow in New York, a sultry or spring day.
What remains, an encapsulated moment that would otherwise be lost or easily forgotten.
For example, a painting of New York with the fire station is a homage to the
immutable. A flag that waves silently is immortalized in its movement. An interior
with a tea cup is intimate and personal. Reality is not what it seems, nor is
it what we see. There are details and moods that are not captured, as with a
camera. What we perceive is something totally different. Only the artist can
reveal the hidden nuances."
RR: How would you describe your motivation and your causes?
M: "I'm not interested in social causes. I don't have an axe to grind.
I want sheer esthetic beauty, the character that lives in things."
RR: McConney doesn't live surrounded by false presumptions, nor does he
cradle himself with unreachable ideals. In any summer day you can find him on
a city corner seeking an aspect of New York that, for now, no one has yet seen!
Rachel Richmond is a staff writer for the Italian Magazine
of Art and Culture.
© Rachel Richmond
Reprinted from the Italian Magazine of Art and Culture