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British painter, born in London. He studied at the *Slade School of Art between 1959 and 1964 under Harold *Cohen, who encouraged a *modernist view of the importance of discovery through process. McKenna's subsequent development as an artist was very much based on a critique of this way of thinking, looking instead towards a kind of figurative painting. This was not the figurative tradition of the British art school as exemplified by *Tonks and *Coldstream, based principally on the life room, but instead an approach that could incorporate ideas, symbols, and historical reference.

Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)