Throughout artist Michael McKinnell’s (1935-2020) work, we see the influences of Braque, Picasso, and Bonnard in his exploration of composition and formal technique. What makes his work so compelling, however, is his use of color, celebration of geometry, and engagement with everyday subject matter. McKinnell often finds inspiration in the intimate details of daily life and delights in simplifying the essence of a scene into his unique style and outlook. A granite quarry, the coastline of Cape Ann, or a studio interior are all places of interest and quickly become subjects for his work.
In many respects, the paintings Michael produced toward the end of his life are extensions of the artistry of his architecture — where he used his architectural powers and artistic skills to convey the harmony of forms and light. The lessons and preoccupations of his distinguished career as the creator of civic, institutional, and cultural buildings throughout the world make their way onto the canvas of his intimate look at his immediate surrounds in Rockport.”
A noted architect of civic places, performance centers, and embassies worldwide, McKinnell was a principal in the design of Boston City Hall in the early 1960s, and for many years was a professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.