Dave McKean: Black Dog
July 1 - August 14, 2021
Philippe Labaune Gallery is pleased to present Black Dog, an exhibition of drawings by British artist Dave McKean from his 2016 graphic novel Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash. McKean, a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans illustration, photography, film, and music, utilizes this multifaceted approach to form a dream-like psychological portrait of British landscape and wartime artist Paul Nash. Black Dog will be on view from July 1 – August 14, 2021, with an opening reception on Thursday, July 1 from 11 AM to 9 PM.
Dave McKean was commissioned by UK-based art program 14-18 NOW, The Imperial War Museum, and the Lakes Festival, to participate in commemorating the 100-year anniversary of World War I. As a result, in 2016 McKean released Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash, a 120-page graphic novel that interprets the life of artist Paul Nash through the psychological space of Nash’s dreams, McKean creates a visual storyline that vacillates between Nash’s childhood, his time as a soldier and war artist, and the proceeding years. Within the works a black dog often appears, staying with Nash throughout his life, morphing in symbolism from savior to oppressor. Analogous to the surreal quality of Paul Nash’s own body of work, McKean explores the life of Nash with a hazy hypnogogic lens, where attention is paid to scars left on the psyche from the traumas of war. Throughout the work, McKean creates poignant moments with washes of green and painted details to illustrate nature’s desire to reclaim a devasted landscape. These gestures are a response to Nash’s writings as an artist and soldier during conflict where a blade of grass can hold promise.
Dave McKean was born in Taplow, Berkshire in 1963. Between 1982-1986 he attended the Berkshire College of Art and Design. In 1986, McKean met author Neil Gaiman with whom a prolific collaboration was born. Beginning with their first book Violent Cases (1987), and most notably McKean’s cover illustrations for all of the popular Sandman comic series. In 1989, Scottish writer Grant Morrison teamed with McKean to create Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth; more commonly known Batman: Arkham Asylum. The work garnered critical acclaim and is considered by many as one of the greatest Batman stories of all time. Between 1990-1996 McKean wrote and illustrated Cages for which he was awarded the Harvey Award for Best New Comic and Best Graphic Novel, the Ignatz Award, and the International Alph Art award. In 2014 McKean was awarded the Victoria Albert Museum Illustrated Book of Year for his collection of short stories Pictures That Tick. Dave McKean lives on the Isle of Oxneyh in Kent, England.