John McNamara, who recently retired from teaching at UC Berkeley, makes surrealist photo collages, then slowly covers his cascade of images with sumptuously applied oil paint. By mixing figures and abstracts, he raises contemporary questions about representation, but with an Old Master’s dedication to paint:
"I am intrigued by the 'time machine' aspect of collage, and the way paint interacts with it. The content of my work focuses on conceptions of transcendence, moments in popular culture, and sharable life realities."—John McNamara
McNamara has explored the creation of presence, or 'sense of place' in painting for his entire career. A Bostonian trained at Massachusetts College of Art, he initially painted turbulent fields inset with stylized, totemic figures. In 1989, McNamara decided to tell stories by incorporating photographic and other found imagery.
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