Judy Kensley Mckie

American, 1944
Judy Kensley McKie is recognized as a premiere figure in the American studio furniture movement.
Her furniture in carved and painted wood and in cast bronze, marble, stone, and resin occupies a singular position in the field. The work is infused with a lively awareness of modernist and contemporary art and also with the designs aesthetic of indigenous cultures throughout the world. Playfulness and power are summoned by her incorporation of sculptural, totemic animal forms.
In addition to her whimsical furniture, McKie also produces drawings. While every piece of furniture she makes starts first as a illustration, these pieces hold their own as works of art beyond a guide for a three dimensional piece. Featuring the same animals present in her furniture, the bold lines and simple patterning of her images are reflective of the native art that inspires her. Simple but full personality, her images radiate the same sturdiness and raw energy of the animal form as her other works.
Her work has been featured in major survey exhibitions of the studio furniture field at such venues as the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, all of which hold examples of her work in their collections.
In 2005, two groups with highly trained and deep appreciation of furniture honored Judy Kensley McKie's career. The James Renwick Alliance, supporters of the national collection of decorative arts at the Smithsonian Institution, gave her its Master of the Medium Award.
Her peers in the Furniture Society, furniture makers throughout the country, presented to her its Award of Distinction, also a recognition of great achievement over time.
If our society designated national treasures, Judy would be one. Admiration of her work is universal among furniture makers, collectors, curators, and dealers and within the audience of enthusiasts who encounter her marvels in museums and galleries, in both fine arts and craft contexts.
Bio courtesy of Gallery NAGA
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