Kevin McKenzie’s art practice stems from fusing traditional materials in First Nations art such as horsehair, feathers, and felt, with industrial materials, such as chrome, metal, and neon lighting. McKenzie explores the complex relationship corporate American has with the image of the Native American. He has researched the use of the Native American image in corporate culture as an icon. The more he researched, the more he discovered that the Native American had been used to sell everything from soap to cars. Prophetic Flame(2003) employs a Buffalo skull mounted on a metal cross. Behind the cross a neon light illuminates the work with a halo of light so that it glows, and is reminiscent of the neon lights used in storefront windows and on billboards. By juxtaposing industrial materials with traditional Native themes McKenzie creates objects of a dual nature. His work pits modern technology against ancient motifs to introduce the public to native traditions.
Kevin McKenzie has exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1993. As a First Nations artist, his work has addressed concerns that arise from his traditional and contemporary life. His artwork is represented in collections across Canada and has been discussed in many publications, on radio and on television. He has received two grants from Canada Council for the Arts (2002, 2004) and the Aboriginal Arts Development Award, First People’s Cultural Foundation, BC, 1999. He has also participated in three artist’ residencies, acted as a curator (Souls Exposed, Art and Soul Gallery, 2005) and a juror (The Alpha, Seymour Art Gallery, 2000)