Jon McAuliffe and Craig Stockwell: Recovering the Body

January 9 - February 8, 2016

We began discussing a collaboration after Jon attended an exhibit of Craig’s in 2013. We are of different generations and work in diverse styles and techniques: Jon is a young representational painter; Craig is a mature artist working in abstraction.

Our conversations moved toward a book that Craig was reading, Into the Silence, by Wade Davis, about George Mallory, who died near the summit of Mount Everest in 1924. At thirty-seven, Mallory was a gifted climber, a member of London’s Bloomsbury set, and a survivor of trench warfare in the First World War.

We were both struck by the extraordinary moment, related in the book, when at the beginning of WWI the young men of England (and Germany) thirsted for the war as a vehicle to bring redemptive meaning to lives they felt had become rudderless in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Sensing common themes in our own time, we agreed to use Mallory and his time as a starting point for a collaborative painting project.

After discussing themes and concepts, we each took one of two large canvases to our individual studios and began painting in our own style and methods. After several weeks, we traded the paintings, with no additional communication, and painted over and around each other’s work for several more weeks. Finally, we returned each canvas to its original painter for completion. Since then we have added and likewise traded other smaller, peripheral works.

Mallory’s body was recovered in 1999, seventy-five years after his life was claimed by the mountain. His story and those of his fellow adventurers have since served in many ways to illustrate the greatness of human potential. Perhaps it can be said that Mallory, in some small way, attempted by his ascent of Everest to redeem the millions of lives lost in the trenches of WWI.

Perhaps it is also possible that through the creative act—an act of devotion in the face of probable failure—we as artists might recover something profound about ourselves. Painting, in particular, attempts to reclaim the sensory body, first in the act of painting, and then again in the act of viewing and experiencing those paintings.

— Jon McAuliffe and Craig Stockwell


Photo Gallery


January 9, Saturday, 11 a.m. – Opening Reception
January 21, Thursday, 7 p.m. – Artist Talk