Brian McKay

1926 - 2014

         "Vale et gratias amicus"


Born in Meckering in 1926, and raised in Northam Western Australia, Brian McKay, after being chosen to represent Australian child art in the 1938 New York World’s Fair, decided at age eleven, he should become an artist.  He has persisted with this ambition most of his life, and in 1961 was invited to join the Perth Group with Guy Grey Smith, Robert Juniper and Tom Gibbons.   

McKay left Australia with his family in 1964, to live and work in Greece, then travelled on to London in 1966 where for the next ten years he created artworks that were sent back for exhibition in Australia.     



public art

talking painting



On his return to Perth in 1975, he joined the Praxis group, and in 1981 the radical Media Space Group.  During this time he played a major role in the setting up of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.  A major survey of his work was held at the Art Gallery of WA in 1982, and he spent much of the past two decades teaching painting and printmaking at Central TAFE, while engaged in gallery exhibitions as well as the creation of many major public art commissions.  

Examples of some of the public works are to be found in the foyer of Central Park in Perth, the re-creation of a 15 metre sculpture of the Penrose Impossible Triangle at a major traffic intersection in East Perth, and a large ceiling sculpture for the New Maritime Museum in Fremantle.  

McKay’s work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Bunbury Regional Gallery, The Holmes a’ Court Collection, UWA, Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowan University, Fremantle Arts Centre, RPH, Charles Gairdner Hospital and many private collections across Australia.

McKay is a master of technical innovation in his work, an inspirational teacher and a tireless supporter of political causes, his social conscience awakened by his political involvement in protest movements in Greece, London and in Paris in May of 1968. 

lifetime award

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