May 10 / 2022 by Kennedy Contemporary

Shane McClatchey is a painter based in Laguna Beach, California. His body of work explores the relationship between people and the ocean. Evoking the Dutch Golden Age of painting in the 17th century, McClatchey’s figures are suspended in moments of sacred joy while going about their everyday activities.

Although classically trained in representation painting, McClatchey brings a more modern flair to his compositions. Pulling inspiration from Andrew Wyeth and Wayne Thiebaud, as well as the writings of naturalists like Rachel Carson and Oliver Sacks, McClatchey constructs methodical compositions that are simultaneously fastidious and dazzling. Every painting captures a memory or feeling rather than an exact place.

Holding a BFA and MFA from the Laguna College of Art & Design, McClatchey lives a bi-coastal life. Though he spends most of the year in Laguna Beach, teaching drawing and painting for Citrus College and Santa Ana College, McClatchey is drawn to the east coast every summer. Working as an ocean lifeguard gives him the opportunity for long stretches of uninterrupted observation of the marine ecosystem and life surrounding him. McClatchey lives in Laguna Beach with his wife, son, and dog. Outside of painting and teaching, Shane is an avid waterman and lover of the ocean.

“Modern life can be so comfortable it’s hard to tell what's real, and the ocean just flips that on its head. When I'm in the water, I can see and feel clearly what's me and what's not. That interaction between the inner and outer world feels a lot like the beach, and how the sand and water are in an endless conversation, shaping each other. There's no clean divide, the edge between them is more of a place we occupy than where the line on the map ends. There's space in the lines that we draw, and their truth is approximate." - Shane McClatchey