Malcolm McKesson was a reclusive artist who created his obsessive and fetishistic art from the safety of his Manhattan apartment. His background is somewhat unclear. After a Harvard education and a period overseas in the US army, a failed business career led McKesson and his poet wife Madeline Mason to withdraw into virtual isolation. It was then that McKesson started to make his strange pen and ink drawings. In his heavily executed art, his voluptuous fleshy doll-like figures emerge from a scribbled darkness. The rounded figures are drawn with few details, their gender never quite determined, though the erotic enigmatic undertow is always present. Amid the dense compositions, McKesson’s figures bow and submit. It was only after the death of his wife towards the end of his life that McKesson felt able to show his work to the world.
Outsider Art Sourcebook.
I have got a couple of Malcolm McKesson drawings. They came with my husband. They sit on the bookshelf and stare out at us and feel full of troubling mystery. They live in the twilight world of what we know and what we don’t know. I love these disturbing little drawings but, I don’t know, sometimes I also don’t. Maybe that needs explaining. Challenging art challenges and some days I am up to the challenge and some days I am not. Some days, I turn these private little pictures to the wall.