While keeping up a fantastic resource of art workshops online, teaching thousands to draw cartoons, behind closed doors Pete’s style has evolved, painting his characters with more detail, which in turn helps the viewer to imagine more in-depth personalities, bringing his relatable, everyday characters to life in a more gritty and realistic way.
The Eight New Paintings exhibition will allow the public to view Pete’s new body of work for the first time, which continues to reflect his interest in exploring working-class life, nostalgia, and social and political themes, in a completely new way.
As we draw towards the end of an eventful and unprecedented 2020, Pete McKee unveils his bold new style both online and at an exhibition in his hometown of Sheffield.
With the new lockdown restrictions due to lift in early December, this free exhibition is hoped to go ahead as planned and will take place with public safety front of mind and in keeping with all social distancing advice and safety precautions.
The dates are the 9 December – 13 January and the exhibition will take place at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery, entirely free of charge, although an online booking system is in place to ensure the safety of all. This exhibition will also be available online, again free of charge, from the 9 December to 13 January.
Each of these new paintings offers a snapshot into the world’s of the characters portrayed. These are scenes and people that most of us recognise, for whom we can easily imagine a backstory.
Each painting also comments on or poses questions about the lives of the characters portrayed in these paintings. For example, ‘Return of the Waltzer Boy’, depicting an ageing fairground worker, invites questions about who this character is, who looks as if he has as many stories to tell as the lines painted in his face.
In ‘There’s No Place Like Home’, a elderly woman living in a care home, glances out of her bedroom window. Although all of the work in this exhibition was painted before the pandemic, this painting is particularly poignant at this moment in time and invites questions such as: ‘who is this woman and how long will she have to wait for her next visit?’
Pete McKee says: “I’m so excited to reveal my new style in this exhibition. Since This Class Works, my last exhibition in 2018, I began experimenting with how I could use my materials differently so I could evolve my work. I realised that the black lines I often use had become a boundary and I wanted to see what would happen if I took them away, and it changed everything.”
Watch a film of Pete talking about getting to grips with his new style.