Just received a copy of Margaret Kilgallen: In the Sweet Bye and Bye and feel like I opened a small treasure. It is a remarkable survey of her work and includes essays and an interview with her by Susan Sollins. She is described as an "intuitionist with a knowing hand"...I found Margaret Kilgallen through Lisa Congdon and the ecourse I am taking.
"Margaret Kilgallen was a force." is how the book starts. She lived in San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. In 1989 she graduated from Colorado College with a BFA in Studio Art and Printmaking and in 2001 received her MFA from Standford University.
Margaret Leisha Kilgallen (October 28, 1967 – June 26, 2001) was a San Francisco Bay Area artist. Though a contemporary artist, her work showed a strong influence from folk art. She was considered a central figure in the Bay Area Mission School art movement. (wiki)
"Kilgallen consciously employed a figurative style that would be accessible to the public....According to the artist, her repetoire of symbols, typefaces, words, and icons, made up a wardrobe, their juxtaposition simply her choosing, her fancy. Among these fragments, Kilgallen celebrates the common and very remarkable lives of everyday people."
Kilgallen also had a high regard for old time music, hobo graffiti, and California as a "place". She emerged as part of a group of artists in San Francisco including Barry McGee, Chris Johanson, and Alicia McCarthy, who all "shared a heartfelt, handmade, and observational approach to art-making." Alex Baker, curator of Contemporary Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts states, "In the end, Kilgallen's work is best understood within a context that predates the advent of youth-savvy marketing. Her art is a reclamation and celebration of Marcus's "old, weird, America" that survived and continues to thrive on the margins of the mainstream."
Kilgallen died in 2001, at age 33, from complications of breast cancer three weeks after the birth of Asha, her daughter with her husband and collaborator Barry McGee. Kilgallen has since been the subject of several posthumous retrospectives. (Wiki)
Here is a short video excerpt from PBS's Art in the Twent-First Century on her. And here is the trailer for part of Beautiful Losers, that features Barry McGee (aka Twist), Margaret's husband. Near the end is their little girl, Asha painting with her father. I am hoping to get to the Mission District during our time in San Francisco to try to find some murals....