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Visiting Artist: Roy McMakin


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Roy McMakin is a designer, architect, and furniture maker, and his art, which draws on his knowledge of and experience in these disciplines, demonstrates a deep engagement with the artistic potential of domestic objects and environments. In sculpture that looks like furniture or mundane household fixtures (a nonfunctioning toilet made of wood, for example) and furniture that is detailed or decorated to emphasize its sculptural aspects (such as a wooden writing desk painted bright pink), McMakin tests the cultural distinctions that separate the two classes of objects, which occupy the same physical space. 

McMakin (born 1956) first brought his work to the public through Domestic Furniture, his Los Angeles showroom (closed in 1994). He has continued to engage with the public through Domestic Architecture, his Seattle-based design firm whose portfolio has expanded from remodeling to ground-up home designs. MOCA Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, California, exhibited a survey of McMakin’s art and design work in 2003, and sculptures by McMakin are permanently installed at the University of California, San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus and the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle. McMakin lives and works in Seattle.

Artists representing some of the most innovative and influential work being done today come to lecture at the University of Oregon. The Department of Art brings in about a dozen artists and critics each year from across the nation and abroad to lecture and meet with students in small groups or individual studio visits. In addition to the support each media area has for such an enterprise, the two annual endowed lectures, the George & Matilde Fowler lecture and the Davis Family Lecture, bring in particularly high-profile artists and critics who challenge our assumptions about art and have broad relevance across media. These public lectures provide not only a unique opportunity to hear directly from artists about their work, but also for students to work with them directly in a more intimate capacity.

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