// About The Artist
McKenzie Gibson is an artist that works within the context of furniture design. Known primarily for her innovative use of mixed materials, much of McKenzie’s work re-examines purpose and function as it relates to constituent pieces, space, and interpretation. At home in an art gallery or residence, these bespoke pieces blur the line between art and design.
Her eclectic approach to fabrication and material is informed by her journey from architecture (University of Tennessee) to fine art (BA (Hons) Drawing, Camberwell College of Arts, London) to, now, furniture design, wherein she graduated in 2017 with an MFA (Rhode Island School of Design).
Her work subverts gender norms, often cited as having a “masculine aesthetic,” which effectively represents just how invested she is in asking her audience to reconsider its assumptions about material, fabrication, design, and art.
The main artistic concerns that surround my practice focus on the physical immediacy between artist, material, and the labour of making. A variety of conventional roles are challenged, including the function of materials themselves as well as the masculine aesthetic my work exhibits, given that I am a female artist. My primary focus is to investigate the interstice between sculpture and furniture, combining fine art practice (particularly drawing) with design functionality.
My work has a common thematic approach, juxtaposing opposites such as permanence and flexibility, form versus function, conventional use of materials versus the unconventional use thereof. I also seek to highlight design within a fine art context, foregrounding human procession and contrasting potentiality versus the residue of human action. In doing so, I incorporate methodologies from architectural and design theory as well as experiment with a variety of materials, removing them from their typical contexts. Also, I incorporate etymology, semantic variation, and cultural meaning-making as it informs my overall thematic approach.
2017 MFA Furniture Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.
2014 BA (Hons) Drawing, Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK.
2008 BA Architecture and Design (incomplete), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.
2017 Newport Contemporary Fine Arts, Newport, RI. 1 May - 15 June 2017. Newport Contemporary Fine Arts.
2016 Department of Furniture Design Triennial Exhibition, Woods-Gerry Gallery, Providence, RI. 17 November – 12 December 2016. Woods-Gerry Gallery.
2016 Fine Furnishings Show, Pawtucket Armory Arts Center, Pawtucket, RI. 4–6 November 2016. Fine Furnishings Shows.
2014 FloatArt, Bargehouse, London, UK. 24 – 29 September 2014. Float Art London.
2014 FLOCK, GX Gallery, London, UK. GX Gallery London.
2014 BA Degree Show, Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK.
2014 Dress Rehearsal, Hotel Elephant Gallery, London, UK.
2013 DepARTment Foundation, 55 Gracechurch Street, London, UK.
2013 Burgess Park May Fair, Burgess Park, London, UK.
2013 Vault, Shoreditch Town Hall, London, UK.
2012 1st Year Show, Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK.
2014 Clyde & Co Art Prize, shortlist. Clyde & Co, London, UK.
PUBLICATIONS & TELEVISION
2017 Rhode Island Monthly. Home Design 2017 edition, "Cottage Revival". "Local Artisans: Learning the Ropes".
2016 Wayfair.com. Interview quotations on Interior Design by McKenzie, Designer.
2016 ApartmentTherapy.com. January 25, 2016. "Ellen's Design Challenge: Goodbye, McKenzie".
2016 ApartmentTherapy.com. January 19, 2016. "Ellen's Design Challenge Season 2, Episode 1: In Bed".
2016 ApartmentTherapy.com. January 18, 2016. "Are You In? Get Ready for Season Two of Ellen's Design Challenge With Our Casting Special Recap & Interviews".
2016 ApartmentTherapy.com. January 17, 2016. "Ellen's Design Challenge: Meet McKenzie".
2016 Providence Journal. January 16, 2016. "2 R.I. designers get shot at furniture fame on Ellen's HGTV Show".
2016 HGTV's Ellen's Design Challenge. Season 2, designer/contestant.
2015 Emboss magazine. The Distortion Issue, September. "McKenzie Gibson".
2014 FLOCK 2014 "Fine Art BA Graduates from Leading Art Schools". Exhibition Catalogue. GX Gallery, London, UK.
2014 FloatArt London 2014. Exhibition Catalogue. FloatArt London, London, UK.
2014 Camberwell College of Arts, Degree Show. Exhibition Catalogue. London, UK.
2017 Drawing as Writing: Practice as Theory. Graduate Thesis. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
2014 Dynamic Ornament: Completing the Project of Modernism. Undergraduate Thesis. Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK.
2013 Temporality in Southeast London Manifested in Architecture. Hand-made Artist Photography Booklet, 120 pages. Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK.
Introduction to Temporality in Southeast London Manifested in Architecture:
The buildings of southeast London exist in an interstice of time, wherein they exhibit elements of both the past and the present. Remnants of ornamentation, hundreds of years old, can be seen side-by-side with architectural features that regularly change from one decade to another. A building may retain its structural integrity, but a feature – such as a door – can interrupt its original ‘wholeness’. Whereas, at one time, a structure’s design was apparent at first glance, change in cultural trends, functional needs, and external circumstance has fractured any ‘wholeness’ that had originally existed. New technologies – like electricity, CCTV, and alarm systems – stand next to the ancient technology of stonemasonry.
Present day passers-by may roam the streets of their community, wondering where the changes have come from, why, and how distant they are from the past. The nature of structural and decorative elements within southeast London is temporal; they are a physical manifestation of the time that has passed – as well as the present we’re currently experiencing.
Some things are left, forgotten – but still visible. Others have been changed to update or improve use. These elements stand as the witnesses of time; forgotten memories, current experiences, and the promise of the future – all have been and will be seen by elements of our neighbourhood’s buildings.