“Golden Hour,” an exhibition of contemplative home portraits by Danielle Mckinney, has its final exhibition at New York’s Marianne Boesky Gallery on Saturday, November 12.
Mckinney, who has resided in Jersey City for 11 years, gave up her career as a trained photographer when the emerging COVID-19 pandemic left her unable to take pictures. Mckinney painted when she was ten, she said, but she took a course to really hone her skills in the medium.
“I had a teacher who really inspired me and pushed me to share the work,” Mckinney said in an interview Monday. “And I started sharing it, people really responded to it, and I was really grateful for that.”
Mckinney’s work in the “Golden Hour” focuses on female figures alone at home.
“I really try to create spaces or place the characters in a space like a living room so that it already evokes this feeling of domesticity. … The space is minimal, either a living room or a bedroom, so you recognize these places like resting places. So I think subconsciously I put them there because that’s where I rest myself.
Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Mckinney said she fell in love with Jersey City as soon as she moved there. “I met other artists and said I work in a cafe, make friends.”
Jersey City, in fact, became part of the essence of Mckinney’s work, as it resisted its changes and its sounds.
“In fact, it’s changed so much since I’ve been here. I remember 10 years ago it was like a very urban neighborhood and much less gentrified than it is now. … I live near the hospital so it’s very loud all the time and I’m very quiet, so we’re looking to get off York Street or near Hamilton Park where it’s a lot quieter.
Mckinney has a studio at Mana Contemporary where she feels very lucky to be surrounded by other working artists, she said.
“Feeling comfortable is really a big part of my job, and living here allows me to do that,” Mckinney said. “There are a lot of creative people who live and work here that I meet. … I’ve never really felt at home anywhere and I feel like Jersey City gives me that. And a big part of the job (in ‘Golden Hour’) is to make these characters feel at home. They are at rest, they are quiet, they are still vulnerable.
“(Jersey City) always gives me the opportunity to find places that I really love and the diversity that I appreciate,” Mckinney said.
“The saddest thing is that 11 years ago some of the bodegas and other things I used to go to… when I had no money they would feed me and gave away cigarettes and wine; and take care of me. And all the last few years they’ve been kicked out and bought up by million dollar corporations that put Joe’s Coffee or some kind of coffee here, and I miss those times of what it was. … It’s in my job; it’s there somewhere.
Hours of operation for “Golden Hour” at Marianne Boesky Gallery, 507 West 24th St., New York, are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Learn more about Mckinney at daniellejmckinney.com and Marianne Boesky Gallery at marianneboeskygallery.com.