Patrick McCay: A Thematic Retrospective: Explore, Exploit, Express | New England College

Patrick McCay: A Thematic Retrospective: Explore, Exploit, Express

April 05, 2024
Writers on a New England Stage, a painting by Patrick McCay, Professor of Fine Arts at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College

The Whistler House Museum of Art (WHMA) is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Patrick McCay: A Thematic Retrospective — Explore, Exploit, Express. The show will run from April 20 to August 3, 2024. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 20, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Parker Gallery.

Exhibition: April 20–August 3, 2024
Reception: Saturday, April 20, 2024, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Patrick McCay’s work occupies the space between the literal and abstract. Skillfully orchestrated colors pepper the expressive surfaces of chosen icons. Grounded in a scaffold of remarkable drawings and an immediacy of gestural brushstrokes, he tempts and teases with a visual theatricality, adding the dignity of the “unknown” to that which is all too well “known.” McCay focuses his visual explorations within the imposed contours and attentive challenge of thematic expression.

An Irish-born, Scottish/American artist, Patrick McCay holds a bachelor’s degree and graduate qualifications in painting from the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. He holds a second master’s in fine art from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

A national and international exhibition record includes shows in London; Lisbon, Portugal; Sydney, Australia; and Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland. He has exhibited widely in the U.S. including Michigan, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Arkansas, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

His academic artistic career includes leadership and faculty positions in the U.K. and the U.S., including the College for Creative Studies in Michigan, New York School of Visual Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art. He is currently a professor at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College in Henniker, NH.

“It is always a pleasure for a painter to share their personal visual expressions; it is a particular pleasure to have work exhibited at the Whistler Museum of Art,” says McCay.

“The thematic focus that evolved during discussions with Executive Director Sara Bogosian provided the catalyst to place an emphasis on ‘artistic educational exchange.’ As a college faculty member for decades this has proven a very fruitful engagement for myself, New England College, and my students.”

Sharing his extensive knowledge of traditional and experimental artistic approaches with emerging artists, McCay has held academic and leadership positions internationally. McCay infuses instruction with inspiration, encouraging artists to explore their own avenues of artistic expression.

Joining McCay as part of this exhibition are several former and current students, including: David Drinon, former student and current Boston and Cape Ann painter, as well as former Artist-in-Resident at the WHMA; Suzanne Hodge, current student and Western Avenue Studio Artist; and Lucas Grondin, former BFA student at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.

“I have had the pleasure of working with the extremely talented educator and artist Patrick McCay for a number of years now,” adds President and Executive Director Sara Bogosian. “From educational programs and exhibitions, to lectures and research, he has a talent that is truly creative, unique, and thought-provoking. I am thrilled to be working with Patrick on this exciting experience and know everyone will enjoy and learn from this ground-breaking exhibition.”

The works of art in this Thematic Retrospective are from three dominant areas of focus McCay has explored since immersing himself in the art of wielding a brush in his native Scotland. These include common landscapes re-imaged into the fantastical, contemplative still lifes featuring typewriters, and objects far less examined, such as grand pianos. His series of expressive pianos garnered great success on their unveiling in the 1990s, with Baldwin Piano Company, Steinway & Sons, and Yamaha USA purchasing paintings for their headquarters.

For more information, contact the Whistler House Museum of Art at 978.452.7641 or by email at

About The Whistler House Museum of Art
The Whistler House Museum of Art, located in Lowell, Massachusetts, is the historic birthplace of the famous American artist James McNeill Whistler. Established in 1878 as the Lowell Art Association Inc., it is the oldest incorporated art association in the United States. The WHMA is known internationally for its distinguished collection of 19th and early 20th century New England representational art, including works by Whistler, Gorky, and Sargent. The historic home hosts many exhibits, lectures, concerts, educational and community programs, and an array of social events in the residence, Parker Gallery, and adjoining Whistler Park. Hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Whistler House Museum of Art
243 Worthen Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Office: 978.452.7641


Learn More
Apply to NEC
Explore Academic Degree Programs
Read More NEC News

Your Future Starts at NEC