Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Artist McNamara, John
Title Enchantment of Nature
Date 1984-1985
Medium Oil on Canvas
Culture American
Catalog Number 1995.100
Collection Contemporary Art Collection
Object Name Painting
Credit line Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. Small, Jr.
Didactic Information In the 1980s, John McNamara worked on a grand scale to create paintings that layer the linear outlines of buildings, objects, and landscapes on top of abstraction which creates a tension between abstraction and representation. In recent years, McNamara has been creating surrealist photo-collages of layers of oil paint and photographs, which combine not only figuration and abstraction, but also raise questions about representation and the license taken by painters and photographers alike. To McNamara, this manner of collage is like a kind of time machine where the layers of the past speak from underneath the painted skin.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, McNamara attended the Massachusetts College of Art where he received his BFA in painting in 1971 and his MFA in painting in 1977. His works have been shown nationally and internationally and reviewed in Art News, Arts Magazine, Art in America, New Art Examiner, Art Forum, and other art journals. McNamara was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1981 and received the distinguished Alumnus Award from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1986. He has taught at the University of California, Berkeley since 1993. McNamara's paintings are in the collections of Smith College Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; and Honolulu Academy of Fine Art, among others.