Gene Gentry McMahon is a NW artist known for narrative paintings that combine subtle humor with wry social commentary. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, in Mexico, Portugal and China, and is included in numerous public and private collections. She has been commissioned to create large-scale public art works, such as a 30-foot mural in the Westlake Station of Seattle’s light rail system, and a series of paintings installed on 13 floors of the King County Administration Building. McMahon earned her BFA and MFA from the University of Washington. She has taught at the UW, Bellevue College and other art schools in the NW.
“I had a one-month residency at Sitka in 2001, immediately following 9/11, and because of that timing, much of the work I made then focused on issues of colonialism. I worked with master printer Mark Mahaffey on a variety of printmaking techniques including etching, relief printing and vitriography. It was a treat and a privilege to be so surrounded by nature, and to sleep beneath those glorious Sitka Spruce trees. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the other artists in residence then, especially Frank Saunders and Patricia Canelake, with whom I have continued to correspond over the years. Randal Koch ran an amazing residency program at Sitka!
As a result of my exposure to the natural ecology of the NW coast on this residency, I have become completely enmeshed in the cleanup of the Duwamish River in Seattle. In 2012/13, I had a major exhibit at the Seattle Aquarium, “Water Watching: Puget Sound and the Duwamish River, which focused on the history and ecology of our waters. For the last five summers I have participated in a ‘Duwamish Residency” with 12 Seattle artists, in which we make art on and about the river. I credit my residency at Sitka with spurring my passion for our rich but threatened NW environment.”