“The American Car: A Family Portrait”
In countless vintage photos, families, couples, and even dogs are posed
in front of their cars-- as if the vehicle itself is a member of the
family.These photographs show both pride and affection and our on-going
love affair with the automobile, since it’s inception, as an integral
part of American life. Fascinated, I decided to use them as the starting
point for a series of works.
Often pictured as if it is a beloved member of the family, the car
included on each of these raw linen canvases serves as both backdrop and
subject…as a symbol
of status, movement, and freedom. And it continues today, as seen in the
number of car commercials on TV. Especially the tagline for Subaru:
“Subaru is Love” while showing a family, and the car being an important
part of their lives.
Through copying and recopying, I transform each photograph before
digitally printing it onto canvas. In this greatly enlarged image I can
imagine and create the life of the people in the photos. Who were they?
What were they doing the moment the photo was taken? What happened to
them later? I abstract the images with layers of acrylic paint in an
attempt to recover those faded lives: a visual perception/translation of
how I imagine the past locales and the people in the photos in a
I feel as if I have come to know them personally, creating a connection
to them through color and texture. These are large paintings that have
an impact that appeals to both genders.
They are upbeat and engaging as the semi-life-sized images draw the
another time and place while imagining the “story” of the subject. It is
the human relationship with the machine.
When I process these imaginings I realize how similar feelings of family
and pride are a constant emotion in human lives, and how transient we
humans really are: the only difference is time, and it flies faster than
a speeding green roadster.
Gale S. McKee
is a Northern California painter whose sophisticated landscape,
figurative and abstract work has received national acknowledgement She
acrylic on canvas, and with mixed media.
Gale's work has been exhibited extensively in both solo and group juried
museums and galleries, including Triton Museum of Art, the Marin Museum
Contemporary Art, Bedford Gallery, Icehouse Gallery, Atrium Gallery, and
Gallery Route One, She has won many competitions and received numerous
Gale was born in San Francisco, attended the Croydon College of Art in
London, and received a BFA from the University of Denver. Her
professional background includes experience as a graphic designer,
illustrator, and product designer for Pottery Barn Kids.