Brian McKay

Brian McKay


Brian McKay AM (18.3.1926 – 10.3.2014)

Brian McKay . . . . Artist, human being, husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague, visionary, teacher, mentor, social activist,
humanitarian, innovator . . . . has died on the very cusp of his 88th birthday.
There is now a huge vacuum where he once stood.

Brian was born in Meckering in 1926, and grew up in Northam Western Australia.
He was chosen to represent Australia as a child artist in the 1938 New York World’s Fair and
subsequently he decided at the age of eleven, he wished to become an artist.  
To this end he successfully achieved his dreams and aspirations although interrupted by WWII.

In 1961 was invited to join the 'Perth Group' with artists Guy Grey Smith, Robert Juniper and Tom Gibbons and in 1964,
McKay took his family and went to live and work in Greece, travelling on to London in 1966 where he continued his studio practice
for some ten years, creating artworks many of which were sent back to Australia for exhibition.

He returned to Perth in 1975, joining the 'Praxis' group and in 1981 he became part of the legendary 'Media Space' Group.  
Dedicated to improving the state of the arts in WA he played a major role in the formation of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art. He was Chair of the PICA Trust from 1985 – 1988.
In 1982 The Art Gallery of WA held a major survey of his work.

Much of Brian's time over the past two decades was devoted to teaching painting and printmaking at Perth Central TAFE,
whilst continuing a constant exhibition schedule at Galerie Düsseldorf and creating iconic major public artworks.
In particular the gigantic wall works in the foyer of the Central Park building in Perth CBD, the sculpture of the Penrose Impossible Triangle at a major traffic intersection in East Perth, a large mural for the ABC, and an effervescent ceiling work for the New Maritime Museum in Fremantle.

His love affair with ancient scripts and typography never left him, as any visitor to the expansive Central Park Building Foyer will experience.
In particular, the ancient Greek monuments and textual renderings experienced first hand by McKay left him in no doubt as to the richness and
importance of 'the written message'

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

A great conversationist with lots to tell, Brian exuded a charismatic charm which was loaded with a gentle but firm passion for what he believed in.
He was a polite, resolute and intelligent man, not afraid to take on the big issues in life, society and art. 
Brian was also very generous in his thoughts and opinions about other artists and arts professionals.
Although he was very much a hands on man (read also 'get my hands dirty') and master technician,
he also embraced new technologies and the internet.

He was also writing his memoirs (Fremantle Art Centre Press)

Brian McKay was a passionate artist and a true believer in the importance of Contemporary Art in society and the rightful place of Art in the wider community. 

He will be sorely missed.

Douglas + Magda Sheerer

- scroll down page for more links and previous exhibitions -

Into the Light

Brian McKay & Bevan Honey
Lifts Project Central Park Perth
March 2013 - 2014

Exhibition @ Holmes a Court Gallery and Central Park 8 -28 March 2015


Brian McKay studio view

Brian McKay : New Works : Galerie Düsseldorf : 7 October - 4 November 2012


Brian McKay : A Self Portrait : Bunbury Regional Art Galleries : 16 July - 28 August 2011


ABC South West WA : 15 July, 2011

Mysterious made art by Brian McKay
By Sharon Kennedy (Cross Media Reporter) pdf

A simple man absorbed in the mysteries of creating art. That's one way of describing one of Western Australia's most celebrated artists.

Brian McKay Exh09

15 February - 15 March 2009


- Recent Work-
1 - 29 May 2005

- Further Reflections -
19 May - 9 June 2002

- On Reflection -
29 October - 19 November 2000

Public Commissions