Human organs and plant life. Logos and symbols. Fairy tales and everyday scenes. Family crests and coats of arms. These are a few of the disparate subjects that McGinness fragments, alters, and layers to build his dense networks of brightly colored fantastical imagery. Swathed in ornate, curvaceous lines, McGinnesss compositions are a postmodern twist on the eighteenth-century Rococo style, characterized by playful opulence and intricate, coiling forms.
Though McGinness's work ranges from large-scale paintings, murals, and installations to smaller prints, multiples, and ephemera, screenprinting is fundamental to much of his output, enabling him to recycle imagery from work to work. This screenprint is from a series of one hundred that underscores the artist’s inventive approach to reproduction and replication. Hand-printed by McGinness using the same set of screens in different orientations and in varying colors, the series reads as a seemingly endless succession of multiplicity and meanings. Residing somewhere between abstraction and representation, the work incorporates bits of humor and social criticism, exploring how visual icons are interpreted—and invented—to shape beliefs in contemporary culture.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 254.