Art enthusiasts, critics, and collectors, mark your calendars for the opening reception of “Trees: A Conversation – Paintings by Hagan and Joe McGee,” an extraordinary art exhibition, on Thursday, July 27 at 6:00 pm at the Mary Anderson Center Gallery. This unique show interlaces generations, passion, memory, and the universal theme of trees through the evocative works of the late James Hagan McGee and his son, Joe McGee.

The exhibition runs from July 27 to August 31, 2023, and it is a stirring tribute to the shared vision of the father and son pair, a journey through their past, and an exploration of the influence of their family life on their art. The dialogue between the artists comes alive through their painting’s shared motif – the tree – uniting their diverse collection into a cohesive narrative.

Hagan’s posthumous contribution, selected by Joe from his father’s prolific body of work, takes center stage for the first time since his passing in 2017. Alongside these sentimental pieces, Joe presents a selection of his recent contemporary works from the Tree Series, sparking a vivid intergenerational dialogue about creativity and nature.

Previously exhibited together at the KY Folk Art Museum in 2003 and Spalding University in 2011, Hagan and Joe share a strong history of artistic collaboration. Despite Hagan’s humble beginnings and late start in art, his work was frequently exhibited and widely collected, serving as a delightful window into his cherished memories growing up in Manton, KY.

Opening the doors into their family life, the exhibition is a celebration of creativity and shared exploration, embodying Hagan’s humble personality and his journey from a retired maintenance worker to a respected KY Folk Artist, which began with a Christmas gift of paints and canvases from his family. His artistic journey, paralleling Joe’s formal art education, provides an intriguing narrative contrast that’s evident in their respective works.

“Trees: A Conversation” is an homage to Hagan McGee’s rural roots, his authentic portrayal of an idyllic past, and his post-retirement journey as an artist. This show stands as a testament to his work, his life, and the profound influence he had on his son Joe, who continues the conversation through his own creative lens.

Also, we warmly invite you to attend an Artist Talk on Thursday, August 17 at 6:00 pm, providing an opportunity to delve deeper into the artists’ processes. The gallery is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 am – 2 pm, and on Thursdays from 4 pm-7 pm.

Mary Anderson Center Gallery
Mount Saint Francis Center for Spirituality
101 St. Anthony Dr.
Mount Saint Francis, IN 47146

Opening Reception
Thursday, July 27th, 6:00 pm

More Info

Artist Talk
Thursday, August 17th, 6:00 pm

More Info

Gallery Dates Hours
Runs from July 27th  – August 31st

Mon, Wed -11am – 2pm Thu 4pm-7pm

More Info

Meet The Artist

Hagan McGee

For 25 years after his retirement at age 65, KY Folk Art painter Hagan McGee, 1927-2017, created hundreds of his distinct acrylic on canvas memory paintings of his youth in the 1930s growing up in the tiny town of Manton, KY. A true Folk Artist (untrained), Hagan showed extensively in the Louisville region and his work can be found in many private and public collections, including the Brown-Foreman Corp., the Kentucky Derby Museum and the KY Folk Art Center in Morehead, KY. Hagan’s parents and family were forced to move to Louisville during the hard years right before WWII, and he served in the Navy on the USS Graffias just as the war was ending. Hagan always dreamed of the magical time of his childhood in the rugged hills of Washington County (he calls one hill the “top of the world”) and he often took his own children back for fishing trips and hikes. This is the first showing of his art since his passing at age 90 in 2017.

Joe McGee

Joe McGee, b. 1954, in Louisville, KY, graduated with honors from the Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville, KY in 1986, with a BFA in Sculpture, receiving a Winthrop Allen Award his senior year. In the 35 years since graduation, McGee has maintained a constant biennial solo exhibit schedule of both his 2D and 3D art, showing mostly in regional universities. He also has participated in many group exhibitions over this period. McGee was awarded an SAF/NEA Fellowship in Drawing in 1988, and a KY Arts Council Professional Assistance Award in 1993. His artwork can be found in many private and public collections in the region. For more visit: