The oeuvre of Oliver McRae is best understood within the poetic rubric of 19th century allegory, the 20th century socialist symbolism of Mexican muralists and Soviet sculptors, the layered ideographic entendres of Abner Dean and political cartoonists, and the literary allusions and metaphors of Henry Clews and Stanislav Szukalski. Through time hewn symbols and gesture, McRae compresses universal philosophic abstractions into tangible, humanist forms.


The Watcher

pays tribute to the faceless figures of the prehistoric Cyclades, whose senses turned to inner vistas: seeing visions and dreaming dreams. He addresses the external world with the universal gesture of affirmation - the open hand, while perching like stork and Australian aborigine on one leg - poised forever in the zen tranquility of the immediate and eternal, ongoing, here now.

 A figurative sculptor's fundamental principle of human anatomy is found in the languid S-curve pose of Greek sculpture called by quattrocento Italians "contraposto": when the body's full weight is carried on one leg, the supporting hip is thrust to the side, and a plumb line dropped from the suprasternal notch will rest inside the supporting ankle.


Star Seeker

In the flushed vigor and unrestrained ambitions of springtime, the tender visionary stretches high, reaching for his dream. But the world, far older and wiser, restrains his adolescent aspirations, pulling him back to the more stable security of the status quo, to the familiar and familial comfort of bell curve mediocrity.



 Comdey Tragedy

Shakespeare likened all the world to a stage, and all men and women as mere players, each with seven distinct costumes and scene to enact. In one life time a person wears many masks; tragically few realize the distinction between true self and adorned facade.

The dual side of life's coinage, a Janus head of pain and pleasure, profound and inane, the Apollonian and Dionycian; polar extremes inseparably bound, one the flipside of the other.




Night and day, liberal and conservative, male and female, black and white, good and bad, geometric and organic, classic and romantic, positive and negative, left brain and right brain, power and frailty; the phenomenon of dualism is deeply woven into the fabric of all human existance.

Shakespeare's mighty warrior Hotspur, feared in battle, venerated on fields of valor by friend and foe alike, is yet a docile and acquescing kitten at his wife's hearth. This dual character is contemplated as Hotspur regards the butterfly.

To Danish sculptor Hanson Jacobson goes the credit for first accenting anatomical forms with sharp edges. Stanislav Szukalski and Stirling Calder followed close behind with the exploratory merging of cubist formal abstraction with the classical figure. Superficial scholarship hails Paul Manship as the premier Art Deco sculptor; but that brief architectonic period that fused sculpture and architecture into a streamlined synthesis was defined by far richer talent than his.


Salutation to the Rising SON

Eternal and infinite OMNIPOTENCE stepped down from majesty on high, and folded into a frail tent of human flesh; for a brief span the CREATOR walked as one created. There was a moment in that matriculation from babe to boy to man when consciousness opened like a flower blossoming, and The Son of Man became THE SON OF GOD.



The Creator

the inventor, the idea man and maker of new things, the innovator who languages forth entire other paradigms, it is these lone and undistinguished individuals laboring in fringe studios, basement laboratories, and back alley shops who elevate the squatting simian tribe out of the darkened woods of barbarism, hefting the collective species up into the clear and lucid heights of Civilization.




Driven by an irrepressible passion for figurative art, McRae yet came of age in the time of rabid Modernism, when all realist and literary tendencies were viciously demeaned and damned by the abstract expressionist paradigm. While tenaciously adhering to his figural predilection, McRae also developed a heartfelt regard for the formalist compositions of abstract sculpture, in time visiting Sir Henry Moore at his Much Hadham estate. This sculpture reflects a young artist's attempt to reconcile two monolithic and seeming antithetic worldviews. Moore's sage response to McRae's troubled portfolio was paternal and gracious: "You're doing just fine. Keep up the good work!"



The Temple of GOD

In hyperdimensional ardor, the devotee of the triune GOD extends his hands in praise, worship and adoration of the eternal and ineffable YOD, VAV, and HEY.

 For the ultimate figurative artists - the dancers and sculptors inextricably bound to the silent body, the gestured hand is a prime element in communicating complex and layered states of being. And the Hindu dancers and sculptors, seeing reality splinter into a million scintillant shards devised spiritual ideographs of multiple arms, each hand conveying a distinct quality.



Across all cultures, tribes and tongues, the way to eternal paradise is charted by works of beneficence - charitable actions, good deeds, sacrifice and selfless service to others, the beau geste, the noblese oblige. For a select few however there is another path - not lateral but vertical, not ministerial but monastic, not outward to an oppressed world but inward and upward in silent ardor and secret adoration. One way fulfills the communal Great Commission, the other pursues the private and personal Great Commandment.



Star Watcher

A small star from the east secure under her thigh, a Priestess sits atop her temple, warming her toes in the sun's rising glow. Patiently anticipating portentous alignments, she scans the waning night for the heralded advent of the bright and shining Star of the Morning.



Liver Eatin' Johnson

For John Seguine McRae who always supported his son's art but sagely counseled, "If you want to make it as a sculptor, you have to do western bronzes".

Oliver McRae worked his way through a bachelor's degree at a small, fly by night bronze foundry, situated outside of town, in the mesquite forests of north Texas.

"The owner was Rick King. At sunset, after a pour, Rick and I would take a belt of whiskey, and he would butcher a chicken while I took the dogs for a short run in the mesquite forest gathering wood. I'd throw the mesquite wood into the still glowing crucible furnace, we'd put a grill on top, and lay on the chicken and cans of beans and corn. By this time the metal had cooled, and with the fragrance of mesquite barbecue wafting through the shop, and another belt of whiskey, we would break off the ceramic mold, clip the core pins, grind off the sprews, and sandblast the pieces in the day's final light. The work completed and the chicken done, we would sit under the star-studded, black velvet Texas sky, and with cold beers and occasional rumbling belches, relish some of the most beautiful meals I've ever known.

That is how I made my Father's sculpture. And it was my boss and friend Rick King who introduced me to the subject - a mountain man and his biography Crow Killer: the Saga of Liver Eatin' Johnston."