Katherine McCauley
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For more than half a century Tinker McCauley made art happen in Fort Lauderdale. While she spent hours alone in her studio generating novel techniques for her artworks, she also labored to create an artistic milieu that could nourish the creativity of a growing city. Her works were displayed in more than 60 shows in South Florida between 1989 and 2010, including a half dozen solo exhibitions.

She was an innovator and experimenter with media and technique . She slashed canvas in the 60s, poured resin in the 70s, burnished metal in the 90s, and used a propane blowtorch to burn her works in the 2000s. After she turned 80, she began some new approaches: smashing car windows, setting off fireworks, and exploding gunpowder.

Her art was driven by ideas rather than trends. Like an archeologist, she dug for identity. Her pieces reflect strong convictions and meditate on spirituality. She traced her quest by exploring two key topics: Nature and ancient Near Eastern writing. These topics appear again and again throughout her 60 year career.

Even before receiving her degree in Art from Northwestern University and further study at the Kansas City Art Institute, McCauley was encouraged by parents who provided endless art lessons, sent her to a French school in Kansas City, and sojourned annually in Taos, New Mexico. There, she became familiar with Native American culture and was on close terms with resident artists and writers. She also earned a sharpshooter badge, shooting rabbits from horseback. McCauley’s distinctive script, her connection to nature, and her fascination with archeology and ancient cultures derive from these early experiences.

Settling with her own children and husband in Ft. Lauderdale in 1950, McCauley continued to develop her art and also taught studio art classes to adults and children at the city’s Art Center. In 1958, she helped transform it, founding the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art, where she served as head docent for many years. She also helped create Art Amaze, 2 Plus 3: The Artists’ Organization and the Third Avenue Artists’ Group . She was a member of the National Association of Women Artists as well.

The nickname, “Tinker”, was given to her in very early childhood by her father who admired McCauley’s passion for tinker toys and her tireless play at making things. Both the name and the dedication to art stuck with her. Having created a significant body of work that continues to inspire and enrich the lives of those who see it, Tinker McCauley passed away in the fall of 2010, with a large work in progress still on her easel.


Public Art & Design by this Artist

"Gentle Descent"