Featured Artist: McKinley Wallace III

June 11th – July 16, 2021

Opening Reception: June 11th 5-9pm

Gallery Hours: Friday and Saturday 1-5pm by appointment

Waller Gallery is excited to show the captivating work of McKinley Wallace III in a solo exhibition, “Separate, But/ We Hold These Truths” and features the most recent and arresting series of the same name. Within his work McKinley pushes his audiences ideas about freedom, archives, power, “privilege as a weapon,” and new horizons. McKinley uses acrylic, charcoal, graphite, and ink on wood panels to communicate the varied messages within his artwork. Waller Gallery is happy to support the vision of McKinley for a second time. He was first featured at the gallery in the “Strength In Practice” exhibition in 2018. The exhibition will be supplemented by an artist talk in early July.

A short essay by the artist states:

“Within recent years, intent has never been more scrutinized. White rage and its propaganda have slowly evolved into a nuanced being. Its legacy and influence encompass charged spaces and place shrouds over racial beings — possessing minds that lack the conviction or knowledge to question, agitate, and resist systematic oppression.

Privilege is a weapon.

I explore race, place, history, and intersectionality. My ideas are often expressed in a graphic style that incorporates realism, Minimalism, and hard-edge painting. I create illustrative mixed media paintings of people caught within and absent from real, site-specific places in distress. I also place individuals in and out of hard-edged black and white zones, all used as a metaphor for segregation, defiance, and loss. The black space represents Black power, and the white space represents white rage. The blue I sometimes use above my scenes can carry different meanings based on what is happening underneath its band of color. The blue can symbolize peace or the abuse of power.

My work embodies a unique strength expounded by the oppressed. A power manifested in resilient peoples, determined to resist erasure and break free of master narratives.

Strengthened by my role as a Black educator, I capture moments of atmospheric and direct tension and rebellion to rattle America’s exclusionary ideals and legacies – choices enacted by the impact of deferring Black joy for centuries.”


McKinley Wallace III is a mixed-media painter whose art depicts strength expounded by the oppressed and an educator dedicated to cultivating people-oriented environments that foster inclusive community building and high-quality learning. His studio work has obtained both local and national attention, including solo exhibitions at MICA, Jubilee Arts, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Creative Alliance, and Gallery CA as well as group shows at Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts,  Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center, Arlington Art Center, Maryland Art Place, Main Line Art Center, ArtReach Gallery at THEARC, Connersmith Gallery, Gallery B, Towson University, Terrault Gallery, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Waller Gallery, Palazzo dei Cartelloni in Florence, Italy, and Interlochen Center of the Arts. Wallace has worked as a teaching artist with Access Art Inc. Baltimore Youth Arts, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. He earned a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and has held fellowships with the MICA Office of Community Engagement, Young Audiences Arts for Learning Maryland, and Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. In 2019, Wallace was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award, Bethesda Painting Award, and Betsy Meyer Memorial Award.

Waller Gallery (@wallergallery) is a black woman owned gallery in Baltimore, MD. Conceived in 2017 by curator and scholar Joy Davis (she/her), Waller Gallery has a vision to support artists in Baltimore and beyond through collecting, exhibitions, programming, and collaborative projects. The gallery considers all forms of art including design, social practice, craft, and digital art. We are passionate about engaging with artists at any stage of their practice. We continue the tradition of black owned businesses in Baltimore. To help the art collecting community at large, we offer dynamic art advisory services. Waller Gallery sits on Piscataway Land and has a secondary mission to amplify indigenous art, voices, and craft.

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Add to Calendar 20210611 America/New_York 2420 North Calvert Street Baltimore MD 21218 Separate, But/ We Hold These Truths