James McKenna's art practice has evolved through a variety of media, including photography, painting, steel-based sculpture, drawing, and now sculpture with paint-stiffened canvas. Through all, the nature of spirit has remained present, though concerns about morality have recently become dominant.
During McKenna’s undergraduate years, he practiced small-scale metalsmithing using brass, copper, and silver. It was in these first years that he established his raw style, then in anachronistic, crude expressions of unseen realities. Direct, hands-on manipulation of materials and a preference for discarded or inexpensive materials have frequently been featured in his work.
Forms and textures created using his entire body characterize McKenna’s current work. Such immediacy focuses viewers’ attention on the body’s presence, with implications of its fragility and the self’s hunger for life.