Lewis McInnis

Earlier Works

Lewis McInnis

Selected Reviews:

WESTWORD August 26, 2015 by Michael Paglia
"…Chief among those is Lewis McInnis, with a section given over to his marvelous post-minimal paintings. A Fort Collins-based artist, McInnis is a master at striking a compromise between hard edges and soft margins, with his grids and other geometric arrangements seeming to collapse in front of our eyes as they work their way across the canvas."   read more»

CBS LOCAL CHANNEL 4 Apr. 14, 2014 by Deborah Flomberg
"Top Up-And-Coming Visual Artists In Denver"
Artist Lewis McInnis currently resides in Fort Collins, though this impressive artist held such positions as the Assistant Curator at the Smithsonian at the National Portrait Gallery. McInnis has been showing his work throughout Denver for some time, and if you have never seen his beautiful creations, then you should definitely make time to take a look. His richly detailed paintings are created using oil or gouache, while incorporating other methods like charcoal and colored pencils. The result is an abstract work of geometric patterns that have a dreamlike quality unlike any other. His work is fluid yet controlled, planned yet free, and each painting can easily draw you in for hours of contemplation.

WESTWORD Nov. 21, 2013 by Michael Paglia
"A pair of abstract solos makes up Structural Leanings at Space"     read more»

WESTWORD Oct. 25, 2013 by Michael Paglia
Haze Diedrich and Lewis McInnis. In what is set to be the last show in Space's current location, (with the gallery's striking new building, at Fourth and Santa Fe, to be unveiled around the first of the year), director Michael Burnett has mounted a pair of solos under the umbrella title of Structural Leanings. The artists whose work makes up the exhibit — Haze Diedrich and Lewis McInnis — are two of the state's most interesting abstractionists. Both build their compositions out of smaller shapes — non-repeating organic ones for Diedrich, and good old rectangles for McInnis. Burnett has split the gallery space down the middle, giving Diedrich the north half, McInnis the south. Though each is represented by his respective style, both are also doing something new. For Diedrich, it's taking nature and breaking it up into small clusters of elements that convey a mood rather than a particular scene. For McInnis, the dense yet regulated structures of his earlier geometric patterns has been opened up and, in some cases, dispensed with completely, replaced by big color fields that collide with one another.

"Perception. For whatever reason, Colorado has a strong tradition of post-painterly abstraction in the forms of hard-edged and pattern painting. The show Perception: Color/Line/Pattern, at the Arvada Center, taps into this current by showcasing historic and contemporary renditions of the sensibility in a handsome exhibit that fills out the capacious lower-level galleries. The show pretty much has all the usual suspects in the historic realm, including Charles Bunnell, Angelo di Benedetto, Otto Bach and Bev Rosen, all of whom were experimenting with geometry in the '60s and '70s, as was the younger David Yust. Coming hard on the heels of this group are the Criss Cross artists out of Boulder, notably the guru, George Woodman, a University of Colorado professor, and his students, including Clark Richert and Charles DiJulio. Doing his own thing with dots right here in Denver was Vance Kirkland, whose work relates to op art. The show also includes the work of contemporary artists reinterpreting the same ideas, such as Jaime Correjo, Adam Holloway, Wendi Harford, Emilio Lobato, Lewis McInnis and others. Through August 25 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, 720-898-7200, arvadacenter.org."     read more»

“Art for all Seasons” 2 page illustrated article regarding work selected for Four Seasons Hotel.

WESTWORD Art Beat Nov. 18, 2010 Michael Paglia
“…Last but hardly least is Lewis McInnis, who’s represented by more than half a dozen gouaches that are absolutely fabulous. They are dense little gems covered in spontaneous markings. I think of McInnis as being one of the top abstract painters around today, and these drawings prove it.”

WESTWORD Art Beat May 14-20, 2009 Michael Paglia
“There’s a very handsome set of three interconnected shows at Space Gallery….McInnis is interested in patterns and his compositions are based on a geometric organization. But he smudges the paint so that the margins are soft, as is the underlying drawing. These characteristics are seen in “Uplift”. The paintings are extremely elegant partly because of these organizational patterns and partly because of the artist’s inspired and sensitive color choices.”

WESTWORD Art Beat May 8, 2008 Michael Paglia
“Opposite the Burnetts is Lewis McInnis, featuring some choice geometric abstracts by this Fort Collins-based painter.”… “Paintings of this sort could tend toward the decorative, but McInnis introduces a tension between the hard edges and the soft colors that delivers a more complex character as opposed to simply looking pretty.”

DENVER POST July 12, 2002 Kyle MacMillan (regarding the 7 state biennial exhibit)
“Indeed very little work in any form in this exhibition pushes the bounds of contemporary art. One that comes closest is “Number 18,” a conceptually progressive oil painting by Lewis McInnis of Fort Collins that chronicles a lonely road trip at night.” “The compelling composition is divided into a grid with nine rectangles, each containing a sepia-tone depiction of a deserted entrance of a faceless business in some unidentified small town.” Across each of these rectangles in white lettering art short phrases which together form a kind of oddly poetic, stream-of-consciousness diary: “Crazy cowboys drunk,” “Followed me 50 miles,” “Middle of night,” “Vacancy!,” “Motel room” and “Door won’t stay shut.”


from Colorado Abstract, Paintings and Sculpture, 2009:
by Mary Voelz Chandler

After years of travel and career shifts, Lewis McInnis has transformed a peripatetic existence into abstract paintings that carry the sense of exploration and pursuit.

Born in Washington, D.C., in 1943, McInnis earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Arizona; years later, he studied engineering at Napa College. Formative experiences focus on both coasts. He served as a curatorial assistant at the Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery after he completed his BFA,. Then, after extensive travel, he settled in the Bay Area in the 1980s. In wine country, he finally began to paint and exhibit his work. In the 1990s, McInnis moved to Colorado; he now lives in Fort Collins.

McInnis’ paintings demonstrate a talent for organizing forms and harnessing the essential energy of geometry. He will begin with a vision or idea of what he wants the finished piece to be, determining the concept, color relationships and intended composition before picking up a brush. But as work progresses, he lets the process of painting take charge, believing that in following that course a work will evolve and remain innovative in its approach. In layer after layer, he creates an abstract surface with an underlying structure or grid, a process he likens to solving a problem or working a puzzle.

As with much abstract work, McInnis’ paintings focus on line, color and the paint that becomes both material and content. And if his work suggests landscapes or architecture -- that geometric intent made real -- it is to create a sense of order, to arrive ultimately at a composition reconciled in all aspects. Over the presentation of one type of formal organization, McInnis may more layers taking the same kind of approach, thus balancing this quest for a systematic whole with a desire for simplicity. The strength of his work is this tension between complexity and coherence.

In some paintings, what stands out is the dance of form and color. A consideration of dark against light and line against shape adds weight to a composition that can recall, for instance, an urban grid or a map of roadways. But this represents a theoretical exercise, not a specific reference.

Many of McInnis’ works engage a viewer by asking for an intellectual response that in a way refers back to the artist’s own interest in problem-solving. Here, the key is in McInnis’ knowledge that impact -- that instant when the whole comes together -- plays a role, too, and in some cases the play of horizontal against vertical or a marked contrast in color values is the prompt to consider structure and objective.

What is universal in McInnis’ paintings is the beauty of watching the rational meet the personal. It’s a confluence that that may appear effortless, but that is born of his experience in turning a concept into the real.

© Lewis McInnis 2018
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