McKay Otto was born in Wharton, Texas and raised with an appreciation for the arts. Otto has many fond childhood memories of playing the piano, drawing on white flour sacks in his father's Market, and visiting art museums with his parents on Sundays. It was this upbringing and support from his family and friends that allowed Otto to embrace his calling and pursue his art.
While Otto has a BBA from The University of Texas in Austin, he also studied art and art history at the Glassell School located at the Museum of Fine Art in Houston. Otto was mentored by and received an informal art education through renowned contemporary minimalist painter, Agnes Martin. As Otto always regards his paintings as meditations, he intends his work to be experienced rather than read. Dealing with the themes of light, translucence, simplicity and silence, his work combines the quiet concentration of meditation with a focused intensity, which he often describes as “Trans-dimensional.”
Otto has exhibited his work extensively in gallery and museum exhibitions across the Texas metropolitan areas of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as in NYC, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, and Aspen. Additionally, he was selected by noted art critic, Catherine D. Anspon to be published in her contemporary arts book, “Texas Artists Today.”
Otto presently lives and works in his studio near Wimberley, Texas.
"In consideration of the dimensional relationships that exist between drawing, painting, and sculpture, this work is concerned with freeing two-dimensionality in painting. The specially formulated transparent nylon "canvas" provides the opportunity to work within and transform the traditional support of painting. As the rigidity of the planar support becomes dissolved, the circumstance arises to create works that are inwardly divisible and outwardly expanding. The implementation of the grid serves as a drawn formal structure that both stabilizes the surface of the art object while simultaneously creating passages for the viewer to literally see beyond. This notion of being able to see beyond the surface directly truncates the preconceived necessity of pictorial space and frees it to exist within the context of its own physical embodiment. This current body of work may serve as a metaphor for humanity's capacity to transcend itself."