Barry McGee’s antipathy for the culture of advertising and mass-produced commodities leads him to seek forms of manual creative expression and communication that contain the traces of human presence – such as graffiti, sign painting, murals, and installations of found objects. His art draws inspiration from street life and popular culture in order to confront the absurdities of daily urban life. McGee’s art conjures the humor and pain experienced by the anonymous individuals who have lost everything, yet still manage to muster a lopsided smile. His signature icon is a cartoonish male figure whose unshaven face, droopy eyes, gap teeth, and doleful expression recall the iconography of the Depression-era “Bowery Bum,” while calling to mind the transient, homeless population that exists in every major American city today. In some instances, McGee paints different versions of this icon onto dozens of empty glass liquor bottles. The men in these works appear to be trapped inside the bottles, and their half-grinning, half-grimacing expressions are at once funny and poignant. McGee’s installations often include framed snapshots of homeless men whose trembling fingers grip Styrofoam cups or tattered cardboard placards, on which the words “Hungry. Anything will help.” are scrawled with a black marker. These transient figures appear to be pleading for recognition as much as they do for loose change.