A Biography
of Bosco McKinney

by Jason Andrew Torrance

Images of animals, masks, pumpkins, figures in various states of arousal or tension, teeth, eyes and abstract ribbons all twist, bend and writhe about in compositions and settings erupting out of some dark corner of a corner in the back of a mind dreaming fevered nightmares or even feverish fantasies.

These figures and the landscapes they are trapped in or merged with; all are covered in a repetitive pattern evoking wicker, grass, the striations of muscles or strands of hair caught in a braid. This fibrous design cuts the figure, as it seems to manifest the sexual power surging beneath. It covers the figures and at times takes the role of a mask. But is it only some scary faced pumpkin, hollow-eyed empty inside, or the distorted grimace of the tormented? Is this ecstasy or torture? Can't it be both?

Ambiguity hangs on the shattered points of obliterated picture planes as arabesqueing curly-cues dance. Spheres have points here and a sly and gallowish humor reigns. This is the world at work in the art of Bosco McKinney.

Like the Surrealists he admires (Dali above all), Bosco delves through his imagination when searching for subjects. To look at his work one would think he's one to eschew Realism or its adherents. However, he respects greatly the craft and technique of recreating reality. Turn to Dali, whose incredibly detailed brushwork only intensified the fantastic, for an example of the craft Bosco admires. Bosco's imagination makes the work personal and also necessitates the need for hand rendering (one can't photograph dreams).

Working with a technical pen, Bosco enjoys the control of his medium and the inherent graphic qualities of ink. His distinctive "ripped meat" look evolved out a commercial job he worked on. Appropriately enough the job was the cover of an edition of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated. Man. This connection with science fiction is by no means coincidental. McKinney thrives on the fantastic and symbolic. He counts Frank Frazetta, the artist who painted the covers of Conan novels, a major influence. Like science fiction, Bosco's work also has a strong thread of social comment stitched through it. The picture "Barbara, this ain't no Brady Bunch" features images of the Twin Towers and suffering. Editorial is as much a provocateur to McKinney as the unconscious.

Any particular image could gestate in the artist's mind for weeks or months before it is executed. He draws everyday, whether to just sketch, work on a commissioned project or labor on his own work. A native of the area, Bosco jokes of how his Dannemora upbringing in the shadows of the prison wall could have influenced his dark subject matter. A high-school hockey playing graduate of Clinton Community College and a BFA recipient from the University of Syracuse, Bosco moved back to the North Country and works and lives here currently.

To contact Bosco McKinney about his artwork:
Call: 518.563.3960
Email: info@BoscoMcKinneyArt.com

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