Alan Magee born 1947, "Countermeasure", 50x75, acrylic on canvas, James A. Michener Art Museum. Museum purchase funded by the Janus Society. © Alan Magee, 2004.

Alan Magee born 1947, “Countermeasure”, 50×75, acrylic on canvas, James A. Michener Art Museum. Museum purchase funded by the Janus Society. © Alan Magee, 2004.

Upon my initial viewing of Countermeasure, by Alan Magee, I assumed it was a photograph.  It was serene and peaceful, but I did not give it any additional thought.  About a month later, I was properly introduced to the piece and was educated that it was in fact a painting.  I walked right up to the piece and inspected all of the shapes and colors.  Not one brush stroke was found.  Immediately, my opinion changed about the work, and I was in awe of the artist that created it.  What are your initial thoughts about this painting?  Did you think it was a photograph at first glance?

Countermeasure is an acrylic on canvas painting that measures 50 x 75 inches, or just over four by six feet.  The large scale gives the piece a sense of magnificence regardless of the subject matter.  The stones are very large, but perfectly smooth, and are positioned in a carefree yet aesthetically pleasing way.  I wonder if Magee painted this piece from life, photograph, or imagination.  No matter his process, the piece conveys a larger than life, perfected image that took much time and care to create.  The color palette is cool and restrained, and gives the impression that the scene is close to the ocean.  Tranquil and meditative, I imagine this artwork in a sanctuary to provide peace to those that encounter it. You can currently visit this work in the exhibit, The People’s Choice: Celebrating Michener’s Top 25. While in the exhibit, you can submit a text panel on this work to share your thoughts about it.

The artist, Alan Magee, has deep local roots.  He was born 1947 in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and attended art school in Philadelphia.  Initially an illustrator, Magee’s work appeared in many popular publications, such as Time, Atlantic, and The New York Times, and received many awards.  However, Magee made the decision to step away from illustration and concentrate on his personal painting.  Rather than choose subjects that were up to interpretation, Magee chose to depict objects that were close to the viewer and able to immediately be identified.  His art has been featured in public collections across the country, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Columbus Museum of Art.  Additionally, Magee has received several awards and been the subject of a number of television documentaries.

Countermeasure is part of the Michener’s permanent collection. We hope that you take a closer look during your next visit!  Share your thoughts about the painting with us below. For more information on Magee and to view additional artwork, visit his website and our Bucks County Artists’ Database.

-Caitlin McGrother, Michener Art Museum Intern