Stephen McKenna (artist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stephen McKenna
Born(1939-03-20)20 March 1939
Died (aged 78)
County Carlow, Ireland
Other namesSMCK
OccupationVisual artist
Known forPostmodern, figurative painting
Notable workTate, British Council, Imperial War Museum

Stephen McKenna (sometimes signing as SMCK) (20 March 1939 – 4 May 2017) was a British-born visual artist known for his postmodern figurative paintings. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1986. His works can be seen in the collections of the Tate Galleries,[1] the British Council,[2] the Imperial War Museum, London,[3] and has been shown at various galleries including the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin[4] and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. He was a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy.[5][6]


McKenna was born in London, he studied there at Slade School of Art (affiliated to the University College London). In 1973 he moved to Donegal, Ireland. He has also lived in Belgium, Germany, and Italy. He was a guest professor at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig (Brunswick, Germany) from 1995 to 1996.[7] In 1997 he curate the exhibition The Pursuit of Painting at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. He became an associate member of the RHA in 2001 and a full member in 2002 and was the president of this association from 2005 till 2009.

He died in his home in County Carlow on 4 May 2017.[8]

Notable works[edit]

O, Ilium! (1982) is an example of postmodern pastiche, combining imagery from classical art and sculpture, Max Ernst, Constantin Brâncuși, and archaic Greek pottery. According to an Ingeborg Hoesterey, it throws together images from the cultural memory of western civilisation, showing them to constitute only a "wasteland".[9]


Solo exhibitions of his work include:


  1. ^ "Stephen McKenna". Tate. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Stephen McKenna". British Council. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  3. ^ "City of Derry I by Stephen McKenna". Art UK. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  4. ^ Leach, Cristin (25 September 2005). "Art: Stephen McKenna". Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Stephen McKenna PPRHA". Royal Hibernian Academy. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Stephen McKenna". Kerlin Gallery. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Stephen McKenna". Irish Arts Council. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  8. ^ Dunne, Aidan (5 May 2017). "Painter Stephen McKenna dies at home in Co Carlow". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  9. ^ Hoesterey, Ingeborg (2001). Pastiche: Cultural Memory in Art, Film, Literature. Indiana University Press. pp. 19–21. Stephen McKenna artist.

External links[edit]