Kai McCall’s Enigmatic Narratives


Montreal-based Kai McCall’s languorous subjects always present a puzzle. “Like characters in a work of fiction,” he says, “the figures in my paintings confront challenges and conflicts as they navigate a variety of enigmatic situations and settings. I think of them as semi-autonomous individuals whose poses evolve as I paint them and who become defined by the eventual actions that they assume in a composition.” (Above: When You Know You’ve Been Taken, 2011, 52″ x 36 / Below: River Poets, 2012, 36” x 24)


“Despite the recognizable imagery and actions of the figures, the overall meaning of the work eludes us. The paintings read more like a work of fiction with the concluding chapters missing; we are conscious of a conflict developing yet the resolution remains suspended in time, the outcome ambiguous.” – Artist Statement


McCall’s oil paintings are influenced by the 17th Century Dutch genre: “Certain elements are rendered in the layered technique of the Dutch masters to create shimmering fabrics and transparent flesh tones.” (Above: Because of The Monkey, 2012, 36” x 24)


Above: Polynesia / Below: Woman in Possession of a Carp / End of Post: Always



Kai McCall received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario. He is a three-time recipient of Canada Council Grants and has works in numerous private and corporate collections across Canada, the United States, the UK and France.  See more on his website, here.

11 replies »

  1. Would love to see one “in the flesh (in the paint?)” So hard to tell about the actual painting from the computer images. But looks really rich and tactile on my computer screen.


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