David Mcconnell

  • L'America (Don't Kill the Messenger) , 2013 , 79" x 89" , oil, acrylic, graphite, paper and fabric on linen

  • Desert Windmill Ballet , 2013 , 36" x 52" , oil, acrylic, graphite, paper, wood on canvas

  • Phonosymphonic Sun , 2008 - 2009 , Acrylic on phonographs with 6-channel sound dimensions variable.

  • Phonosymphonic Sun , 2008 - 2009 , Acrylic on phonographs with 6-channel sound dimensions variable.

  • Weather System 2 , 2014 , 24" x 24" , mixed media on panel

  • The Walrus Wasn't Paul , 2014 , 78" x 84" , oil, acrylic, graphite on linen

  • Lullaby Number Six , 2014 , 60" x 82" , oil, acrylic, paper and fabric on linen

  • Weather System 1 , 2014 , 24" x 24" , mixed media on panel

  • Gideon Bible Installation , 2009 , mixed media, sound installation: My interest in this ongoing popular publication is based on the many edits and rewrites that exist and are continually changing. I created my own fluxus based interpretation by reading the first page of Gideons bible backwards to the meter of a metronome. I recorded my voice into a microphone then created an experimental musical score and recorded the score in synch to the recorded words. The words which baffled me as a child now made more sense. They became a form of abstract poetry. The audio for the installation is played back through a series of vintage sound and recording devices, all of which are displayed organically as I might set it up in my own home or studio.

  • It's Detached From the Earth , 2009 , video installation. This video is done with one shot over my record player as I play side one to "voices of the loon". This Lp is fascinating in its own right. It explores the sound of the Loon bird song as well as environmental and romantic knowledge of the Loon. The narrator has a voice that makes scientific knowledge sound like poetry (the video title is taken from his statement describing one of the Loons calls). I have manipulated his voice in the studio to amplify this poetic quality. These birds are very musical and even tend to prefer the key of b flat so I also created a rhythmic score to accompany their songs.

  • Environments , 2010 , sound installation: reconfigured music box, wood, headphones, record

  • Duet , 2010 , sound installation: “This is my sarcastic remark to digital music and MP3 players,” David said, by way of introduction. The first sculpture, “Duet,” is a collection of stacked objects: orange soup pot, a thick slab of salvaged wood, a microphone. And it’s also a duet. An old music box housed in a doll house-sized piano plays in concert with an ancient tape cassette player. “But this work is digital!” David said. It’s a play on words: The music box creates sound with digits. The artist altered the tines and drum so the music box would play his own composition.

  • iPod Truffle , 2010 , mixed media sound installation, reconfigured music box

  • Revolution Number Ten , 2010

  • MP73 , 2010 , mixed media sound installation , $1500 , Sold



David McConnell: A Portrait in Sound (video interview)


"Digital" Music with David McConnell (about the music box installations):


David McConnell makes Bickett Gallery's multimedia dreams come true




Self taught

solo  exhibitions

8/14  Flanders Gallery, Raleigh, NC
2/13 ABBA Fine Art, Miami, FL
2/10 ABBA Fine Art, Miami, FL
4/09 Flanders Gallery, Raleigh, NC
5/07 ABBA Fine Art, Polysymphonic Sun, Miami, FL
3/07 Cherry Modern, Raleigh, NC
9/06 Bickett Gallery at Hudson, Exhibition One, Raleigh, NC
5/06 Bickett Gallery, Raleigh, NC
11/03 Opolis, New Video Installation, Norman, OK

group exhibitions

11/13  Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC
12/12 SCOPE Miami, Miami, FL
7/12 Henry Gallery at The University of Washington, Seattle, WA
3/12 Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL

3/12 Flanders Gallery, Raleigh, NC
4/11 Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
8/10 Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC
12/09 ABBA Fine Art, Miami, FL
12/08 SCOPE Miami, Miami, FL
12/08 ABBA Fine Art, Miami, FL
3/08 Red Dot Fair, New York, NY
12/07 Art Now Fair and ABBA Fine Art, Miami, FL
5/08 Works of Heart- Art auction against AIDS, Raleigh, NC
11/05 Ralph Lauren, Generation Engage, Washington D.C.
10/05 Fish Market Gallery, Raleigh, NC
10/95 Tierra Del Sol, Claremont, CA
7/95 Haven Gallery, Pomona, CA


The 2012–2013 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award

public collections

The Sackner Archive of Concrete Art and Visual Poetry, Miami, FL

publications / media

Under The Radar Magazine- Interview 2011
The Boston Globe- exhibition preview by Geoff Edgers
Nasher Museum Blogs- Digital Music with David McConnell 2011
“The Record- Contemporary Art and Vinyl” exhibition catalog edited by Trevor Schoonmaker 2010
Artsee Magazine- Exhibition review 2010
News and Observer- Arts and Living, Exhibition review 2010
Independent weekly- Exhibition review 2010
Premier Guide Miami- Exhibition preview 2010
Miami Art Guide- Exhibition preview 2008
Flavorpill- Exhibition preview by Omar Sommereyns 2008
Arts Ramble- Review of Exhibition One by Doug Stuber, 2007
The Independent Weekly- Review of Exhibition One by Douglas Vuncannon, 2006
The Independent Weekly- Interview and Review by Grayson Curin, 2006
News and Observer- Review of Bickett Gallery exhibition by Ellen Sung, 2006
News and Observer- Interview by Craig Jarvis, 2006
Magnet Magazine, Interview by Jonathan Valania, 2005
Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing- Biography by Ben Nugent 2005
SPIN Magazine- Interview by Liam Gowing, 2004
San Francisco Bay Guardian- Interview by Kimberly Chun 2004
National Public Radio, interview by Nic Harcourt, 2003




David McConnell began his career as a song writer and record producer in Los Angeles where he worked on album projects with iconic recording artists such as Elliott Smith and Lou Barlow of Folk Implosion and Dinosaur Jr. Although McConnell made music for labels such as Virgin Records and Dreamworks, the industry ultimately deemed his work too experimental or avant-garde to be commercially successful.

McConnell exited the commercial music world and entered the visual art world after leaving his native California and relocating to North Carolina in 2004. He began making sound installations and large paintings that referenced the iconography and mythology of the music world. These works often address the clash of music culture and religious ideology. In 2006 he made a controversial installation that incorporated a score he composed around a recording of himself reading the first page of the Holy Bible backwards. This led to a gallery solo show which caught the attention of several museum curators on the east coast.

In 2007 Trevor Schoonmaker- the curator of contemporary art at The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University included McConnell’s most ambitious sound installation to date, “Phonosymphonic Sun” in what would become the acclaimed exhibition “The Record. Contemporary Art and Vinyl”. In 2010 the exhibition opened to mass success at The Nasher and drew major audiences as it traveled to the ICA in Boston, The Miami Art Museum and The Henry Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle.

McConnell’s work has been discussed or featured in publications such as Spin Magazine, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Bay Guardian and on NPR. In 2012 McConnell won the North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award.




David McConnell: Plotting Chance

Employing a range of media, including painting, assemblage, sculpture, sound installation and film, David McConnell cultivates spontaneous emotional expressions and organic creativity. By juxtaposing unusual elements and recontextualizing what were once familiar objects and images, he challenges the viewer to find beauty in unexpected sights and sounds.

McConnell’s art historical influences can be seen clearly; Fluxus, DADA and Abstract Expressionism are all movements that the artist admires.  His paintings in particular are full of energy and fluid abstraction, eschewing narrative in favor of more open interpretation. The works have a kinetic energy that gives them a sense of continual flow and movement.  McConnell’s approach to painting is to create layer upon layer of color and form, at times collaging found objects onto the surface, so that images and color emerge from a thick impasto.  A self-taught artist, McConnell’s desire to mark spontaneity and plot chance results in works that respect historical influences even as they discard them.  Of his process, he notes, “I just try to let the work make itself.”  The resulting pieces are more reflective of personal experience than learned methodologies. 

The artist’s background as a composer and producer has naturally contributed to his love of improvisation.  It is understandable, then, that McConnell seeks to incorporate his interest in the recording process into the architecture of his work.  Recent paintings such as Stereo Symphonic (2009), Angeles (2009) and Symphony for Forks, Spoons and Knives (2009) carry in their rhythmic brushstrokes the literal and metaphorical markings of sound.  McConnell’s videos take representation of the aural a step further, combining the visual formality of his two-dimensional works with either his own compositions or found sounds.  A recent video piece, It Is Detached From the Earth (2009) for example, consists of a single shot of the artist’s turntable playing the vintage record “Voices of the Loon.”  The hauntingly beautiful sounds of the loon in its natural habitat, combined with the soothing authority of the narrator’s voice results in a surprisingly poetic work, in which the mechanical representation of nature becomes transporting.

In his installations and sculptures, McConnell combines his obsession with production processes and his musical virtuosity.  Movement is important here as well; his installations tend to employ multiple turntables, amps, speakers and instruments to play individual parts in turn, creating “symphonies” of melodic sound that flow throughout the exhibition space, surrounding the viewer.  Here, too, the ideas of surprise and improvisation are key.  In McConnell’s recent work Gideon’s Reverse Bible (2009), for example, the artist reads the pages of the ubiquitous hotel Bible backwards to an experimental music score.  The piece, which is then played back in the gallery space through vintage recording devices, is both a work of abstract poetry and an investigation of religious history and cultural meaning.

David McConnell is based in Raleigh, NC.  His work has been exhibited at venues including Bickett Gallery, NC; ABBA Fine Art, FL; and Opolis, OK.  Likewise, his work has been included in the current exhibition, The Record at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. McConnell’s work is in a range of private and public collections, including the Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry in Miami Beach, FL 


Artist's Website: