Michael Jones McKean (born 1976, Micronesia) explores the nature of objects in relation to folklore, technology, anthropology, and mysticism. His complex installations and sculptures merge expansive but highly specific orderings of materials, processes and substances. They engage in an interest in deep time, timescales and their collapse, in the process decentering historically anthropocentric registrations of events, distances and meaning. McKean often presents seemingly incongruous objects in careful arrangement, at times quoting vernacular museological display techniques. Through his working process he questions stable definitions such as real and replica, natural and synthetic, fact and fiction, past and future by employing diverse media such as ancient meteorites, primitive textiles, obsolete technologies, raw clay, psychotropic medicines, and prismatic rainbows.
Michael Jones McKean earned a BFA from Marywood University, Scranton, PA, and an MFA from Alfred University, Alfred, NY. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Nancy Graves Foundation Award and an Artadia Award. McKean has been awarded fellowships and residencies at The Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The MacDowell Colony, The International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York City, The Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in New York City.
McKean's work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Parc Saint Leger Centre d'art Contemporain, Nevers, France: Horton Gallery, New York, NY; The Quebec Biennale, Quebec City, Canada; Gentili Apri, Berlin, Germany; The Art Foundation, Athens, Greece; Inman Gallery, Houston, TX: Parisian Laundry, Montreal, Canada; Project Gentili, Prato, Italy; Shenkar University, Tel Aviv, Israel; The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, among many others.
McKean is currently an Associate Professor in the Sculpture + Extended Media Department at Virginia Commonwealth University where he has taught since 2006 and is Co-Director of ASMBLY based in New York City.
McKean lives and works in Richmond, VA.