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Pete McKee is one of our favourite Sheffield-based artists. Whilst he’s not primarily a street artist, he has created several feature walls across the city over the years. These include his hugely popular ‘The Snog’ and ‘Frank’.

This weekend, Pete’s latest solo exhibition ‘Don’t Adjust Your Mindset’ opens in the Millennium Gallery. This is his first solo show in Sheffield for six years, and four years since his group exhibition ‘This Class Works’.

Painting of a child stood waiting outside a rundown betting shop
The Outsider

The artworks on display are a bit different from his previous works. They include paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints. Taking inspiration from social media and the wider web, Pete’s show explores modern British life and how we communicate today. Whilst this may feel like a departure from his previous artworks, they are still distinctly his style.

Youth, Age & The In Between

The exhibition is split across three ‘rooms’. The first examines social issues. The paintings in this room feature familiar characters from Pete’s earlier works. However, the joy and happiness of his subjects have been replaced by the harsher realities of life.

Painting of a young girl eating breakfast alone with dirty pots and piles of unwashed clothes in the background
Self Catering
Painting of a heavily tattooed elderly white woman
Gilded Lily

Earth, Inequality, Protest & Influence

Pete’s work is usually created as a form of escapism. He has described wanting his work to be inspirational and positive. Yet, in the second room of his latest exhibition we see works tackling the subjects of environmental degradation, economic and social inequalities and the politics of protest. These messages of these artworks are heavily influenced by current affairs.

Painting of a smashed up caraven that has falled from the top of a cliff onto the beach
Wish You Were Here?
Large bomb painted green with the words 'They Started It' written in large white lettering
They Started It!

Fame, Communication & Value

In the final room, Pete’s works focus on internet culture and the modern forms of communication. There’s a series of painting, accompanied by a video examining online fame; photos of real life except heads have been replaced by emojis; and a painted cel of an exploding Looney Toon’s Road Runner representing the end of traditional animation styles.

A painting showing a woman passing an electric guitar to a man that has fallen over in his chair, a picture of Brian May is seen in the background
A Star Is Born
Three paper mache emoji masks
Emoji masks

Exhibition Details

It is interesting to see Pete take a new direction with his art. It is definitely darker than previous shows, but no less enjoyable. We definitely recommend you visit whilst it is on.

‘Don’t Adjust Your Mindset’ runs until the 22nd May at the Millennium Gallery. Entry is free, and booking is not required. The gallery will also be opening especially for this exhibition on Monday (when it is usually closed).

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