1. Mckinney works exclusively on solo Black female figures at rest
Mckinney reclaims and resituates the notion that in art history, Black women have been relegated to the fringes of paintings, often at work or in the background. Instead, she focused on the interior life of these often-forgotten figures: what they do when they get home after a long day – do they smoke a cigarette? Read a book? Paint their nails? Lie down on their sofa? McKinney’s paintings highlight the mundane, everyday life for Black women and focuses on their rest, while simultaneously creating distance between the viewers and the figures.
2. Mckinney begins with an all-black canvas
To get the moody, Caravaggesque lighting that so often haunts Mckinney’s work, the artist begins each work with a black canvas and then highlights the figures and their background in shades of brown, orange, green, and blue.
3. She is inspired by vintage posters and magazines
Mckinney’s subjects are sourced from photographs and film, sometimes incorporating images from vintage magazines from the 1960s and 70s that remind her of her family’s history. Her interest in vintage photography often culminates in noir-like, cinematic moments of women at rest in dramatic poses.