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Judy Kensley McKie: A Retrospective Exhibition at Gallery Naga

Judy Kensley McKie Urn with Flowers, 2012, cast bronze (edition of 8), 24x15x15"
Judy Kensley McKie Urn with Flowers, 2012, cast bronze (edition of 8), 24x15x15"

Boston vibrant art scene is once again highlighted in the latest exhibition by Judy Kensley McKie at Gallery Naga on Newbury Street. A visionary in the world of furniture design, McKie's distinctive approach seamlessly blends functionality with high art, offering a fresh perspective on everyday objects.


Exhibition Details:


  • Location: Gallery Naga, 67 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116

  • Dates: May 3 - June 1, 2024

  • Opening Reception: SATURDAY, MAY 4 | 2 - 4 PM




About Judy Kensley McKie


Born in 1944 in Boston, Massachusetts, Judy Kensley McKie has carved a niche in furniture design with her unique style characterized by animal and plant motifs. Her journey into the world of art began under the tutelage of her father, a graphic designer, in his woodshop. This early exposure laid the foundation for her future in furniture making.


McKie's formal education in art came from the Rhode Island School of Design, where she earned her BFA in painting in 1966. Initially drawn to figurative art from ancient cultures, these influences prominently feature in her later works. The transition from painter to furniture maker was sparked by a practical need to furnish her home, gradually evolving into a career that would see her pieces become icons of modern design.


Judy Kensley McKie Horse Wall Cabinet, 2008, carved and painted basswood, 21x21x4"
Judy Kensley McKie Horse Wall Cabinet, 2008, carved and painted basswood, 21x21x4"


Career Highlights


In the late 1960s, McKie was part of the "New Hamburger Cabinet Works" cooperative workspace, where she refined her craft and began to develop her signature style. By 1975, she had started carving low-relief animal and nature patterns into her furniture, a technique that soon became her hallmark.

Her career has been punctuated with significant exhibitions, such as the 1979 "New Handmade Furniture: American Furniture Makers Working in Hardwood" at the American Craft Museum in New York and a solo exhibition at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco in 2018, curated by Glenn Adamson and Ariel Zaccheo. Her work is also part of the prestigious collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Judy Kensley McKie Bird Headboard, 2013, carved basswood, 40x63x2"
Judy Kensley McKie Bird Headboard, 2013, carved basswood, 40x63x2"


Featured Works at the Exhibition


  1. Mandrill Console Table: A striking table featuring a mandrill design, which showcases McKie’s mastery in carving and structural design.

  2. Cat Tail Vase: This piece merges playfulness with utility, embodying sleek lines and stylized motifs.

  3. Whale Tail Sconce: A blend of art and functionality, this sconce uses the form of a whale's tail to cast a warm, ambient light.

  4. Tree Chalice: Drawing from the natural world, this chalice features intricate carvings reminiscent of tree bark and foliage.

  5. Birds in Flight Relief Panel: A wooden relief that captures the essence of birds in mid-flight, showcasing McKie’s ability to animate wood with life and motion.


Judy Kensley McKie Swan Sconce, 1994, cast bronze (edition of 32), 21.5x13x4"
Judy Kensley McKie Swan Sconce, 1994, cast bronze (edition of 32), 21.5x13x4"

Why Visit?


Judy Kensley McKie’s exhibition is not just a showcase of unique furniture but a deep dive into the seamless integration of artistic expression and everyday utility. Her works invite viewers to reconsider the artistic value of functional items, making this exhibition a must-visit for art and design enthusiasts alike.


For more information and to plan your visit, check out Gallery Naga’s website.


Join us at Gallery Naga to celebrate the creativity and craftsmanship of one of Boston's own, Judy Kensley McKie, and immerse yourself in an exhibition that blurs the boundaries between art and furniture.

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