The artist sitting on her piece Apotropaic, 2013.

Photography credit: Emma Robinson.

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 from the 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.

See artist cv