Shawn McNulty Art Artist


Downtown Journal

Massive: by Anna Pratt | October 10th, 2005

Artists Shawn McNulty and Dave Whannel are seasoned bus riders (and probably have mastered other kinds of mass transit, too). They showcase the dynamics of mass transit — emphasis on the mass — on their monumental canvases.

McNulty and Whannel render passage via light rail, buses, bikes, cars and more (figuratively, not literally). Their pieces are textured, with uneven lines that act as a metaphor for uneven roads and varying circumstances. For example, can you pick out where the SUV picks a fight with a bus? Sparks from where the train turned corners are created with palette knife-carved streaks. Or, how about the bus that’s filled to capacity and the other that’s vacant?
How about that cab driver? Do you recognize him? There’s someone who just missed his bus, running to catch it at the next stop.

Whannel’s collage-style paintings even include some fragments taken directly from the streets. A sunburst form could be a tunnel while McNulty’s pieces can be viewed as aerial or micro views of the road. They appear more linear, as if traffic runs from left to right.

You could be watching the entire network of Metro Transit buses moving from stop to stop, or be seated inside the bus. Everything’s a brief figment — or a movie that passes outside your window.