Daniel MacNeil is a third-generation muralist, artist, and sculptor, who has been creating art for more than 50 years. As a young man, he worked for one of the largest billboard firms in Boston. This experience of hand painting larger-than-life pictures influenced the materials he chose to use as his medium when, in the 1990s, he turned to sculpting. MacNeil began welding together various lengths of heavy steel I-beams and adorning them with large stones he found along the New England seacoast. Paradoxically, the end result was newly created images of lightness and grace.
His pieces have been showcased at Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, MA, 2010 to present; Giving Tree Gallery, Sandwich, MA, 1992 to present; Julie Heller Gallery, Provincetown, MA, 2001 to 2014; Charles-Baltivik Gallery, Provincetown, MA, 1998 to 2000; Courtland Jessup Gallery, New York, NY, 1997; Cortland Jessup Gallery, Provincetown, MA, 1996 to 1997; Swansborough Gallery, Wellfleet, MA, 1993. In addition, he designed and created three sculptures for a private home in Brookline, MA in 2005, four sculptures for an entrance way to a private home in Provincetown, MA in 1999, and several sculptures that were presented as awards at a “Young at Arts” competition in 1992 at the Wang Center in Boston, MA.
Besides public galleries and private installations, MacNeil’s work appeared in a three-person performance entitled "Dropped Lines” that included an original play by Vera Gold with musical sculptures by Daniel MacNeil and interpretative dance by Sara Romersberger at three Boston locations in 1993: the Brenda Taylor Gallery, DownTown Cafe, and The Colonnade.
In speaking about his work, MacNeil says, “The simplicity of my sculptures comes from quieting my mind through meditation and prayer and focusing on the intrinsic nature in the steel and stone I work with. My goal is to take something that appears lifeless and concrete and reveal its inner elegance and strength. I try to redirect the steel’s energy into angles and geometric shapes that resonate with my conception of divinity. I know I am drawn to the right and perfect materials; except for my physical labor, the making of my art is effortless. What my pieces actually project to my patrons or viewers is not for me to say. What I know is that I am humbled and grateful to be an artistic vehicle.”
MacNeil creates abstract sculptures that work well both indoors and out. His large, sturdy pieces portray a beauty and groundedness that is inspiring whether standing by the ocean or amid dessert sand.