Shaun McFee was born and raised in \Kitchener-|Waterloo. Having started art lessons from an early age with a member of the Etril-Synder family, he continued to pursue painting through his teenage years and into his 20’s, working in oil and acrylics. McFee eventually moved to cities such as Montreal and Vancouver, where he soaked up the vibrant art culture.
In Vancouver, having to put aside the canvas and palette to focus on a marketing career, he became heavily involved in arts programming through volunteer positions at Vancouver Art Gallery, Federation of Canadian Artists and various artist-run centres. Upon returning to KW, McFee joined the staff at Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery in various capacities. Armed with this experience as gallery and public programming volunteer, he leveraged it into a position with THEMUSEM, where he led classes, activities, and programs.
A stand-out experience was assisting with the creation of the content for gallery tours supporting their Tom Thompson exhibition. Working in all these institutions afforded him time and environment to reflect on what painting meant to him and how he envisioned his work in the future. This led to the style that he is most commonly known for: squares and grids that are abstracted.
His work is inspired by those experiences, love of the local landscape, and a sense of wanting to bring both some chaos to such rigid forms, and abstract composition to the organic form of landscape.
My recent work continues to focus on breaking up the picture plane with grids and squares. As of late I have been finding expression through the loosening of the rigid geometries I’ve done in the past. I call it adding air to the pieces, and it allows more negative space than previously demonstrated. When viewing my work one can possibly imagine a landscape, or perhaps more figurative connotations.
I am bringing an organic element to mathematically constructed pictures. As I progress, I search for a balance between abstract and figurative. To me, to have the compositions populated by what can be seen as figurative elements take the work from pure abstraction into a realm of human connection.
Also, I am experimenting with limited colour palettes, allowing for an overall unity of the picture, where the elements of chaos I so love are highlighted by their forms more so than their hues. My process involves layering colours upon one another, and often times, of contrasting hues. I find this creates a richness, and seen in different light, whether natural or artificial, can add a level of mystery or revelation.