Grainger McKoy American Artist and Sculptor hand carved wood
Wood has been an integral part of my evolution from childhood into adulthood and from craftsman into sculptor.
Cypress Bird Scupture

First Bird, 1960

As a young child, I marveled at my father notching cypress logs as the cabin in which I grew up in the early 1950’s took shape. Growing up with those interior logs, combined with the mystery of an old decoy my grandmother had given me from her attic, pressed something deep in me. I remember well my mother holding me up by my belt and her encouraging words as she allowed me to saw an extended exterior log from that cabin for my first bird. That is when I first peered over the edge of the nest into the world of sculpture.

Carving a few birds and decoys as a teenager and working as a carpenter’s helper not only strengthened my allegiance to wood, but also revealed a love of working with my hands. This love has only deepened with time.

Leaving home to study architecture at Clemson University turned eventually into a BS degree in biology, which was, as I look back on it, a continuation of what was quickened in me as I grew up next to those cypress logs and a decoy.

For the quarter century since then, the pursuit of the flight of birds in wood has been a passion of mine. The sculptor in me began to emerge as I worked under the wing of Gilbert Maggioni of Beaufort, South Carolina, for two years in the early 1970’s. He challenged me like no one before or since. Gilbert inoculated me against mediocrity while at the same time encouraging innovation and preaching there is no substitute for hard work. Although I had long since left the nest, I was still precariously perched on an outer limb, not knowing where to fly. Gilbert kicked me from that position to soar toward a vision on the horizon his eyes had seen, but mine were not accustomed to. The first flight was the point in my life when inertia was overcome, and I began that slow, arduous process which continues to this day of becoming a sculptor.

With my path lit with the torch of Maggioni’s enthusiasm, encouragement and work ethic, I continued to push wood and my subject matter to their limit. I believe that over the years I have been able to make wood fly, yet all along I knew there was more to be discovered and tested. Recently, the possibilities and boundaries of wood have been extended again as if a whole new territory has been opened for discovery and development. A peephole was given me into this new territory when I had a mold made from a wooden feather into which bronze and later sterling was poured.

That feather triggered more feathers, then eventually a whole bird in bronze. This is not an abandonment of wood, rather using it directly to bring these birds out from behind their glass cases while retaining the detail and lightness wood has allowed me over the years.

Brookgreen Gardens, Pawley's Island

Brookgreen Gardens 1999
Pawley's Island, SC

The Greenville County Museum
Greenville, SC Open Wed - Sat 10 am - 6 pm & Sun 1 pm - 5 pm.
Several rarely-seen sculptures are in this exhibit.

The Madren Conference Center
Clemson, SC Open 7 days a week
The 6 foot tall bronze Recovery sculpture is on permanent display. A gift to the University commemorating my classmate Jay D. Hair, a remarkable naturalist and conservationist.

Brookgreen Gardens
Pawley's Island, SC Open 7 days a week
Brookgreen received a gift of 10 of sculptures from an early patron of mine.

Swan Lake Iris Gardens
Sumter, SC Open 7 days a week
A 12-foot Recovery sculpture in stainless steel is installed on the lake.

The Society of the Four Arts
Palm Beach, FL Open 7 days a week
A 12-foot Recovery sculpture in stainless steel is installed on the grounds.

Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art at Salisbury State University
909 South Schumaker Drive Salisbury, MD
410 742 4988 Open 7 days a week.

The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology
The permanent home for Grainger's first Carolina Parakeet sculpture. Open by appointment only.
439 Calle San Pablo, Camarillo, CA 805 388 9944

Gruss Center of Visual Arts
The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ.
The Foxleigh Building
2330 West Juppa, Lutherville, MD Open 9-5, Monday to Friday.

Dover Corporation
280 Park Ave, New York, NY 518 283 8860 Open 9-5, Monday to Friday.


2018 The Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC

2016 The Greenville Museum, Greenville, SC

2011 The High Museum, Atlanta

1999 Brookgreen Gardens, Pawley's Island, SC

1993 Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, PA

1984 Coe Kerr Gallery, New York

1976 Hammer Galleries, New York

1976 Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC


2001 "Re-presenting Representation," The Corning Incorporated Gallery, New York, NY

2001 "Exploring American Sculpture," Brookgreen Gardens, Pawley's Island, SC

2000 "100 Years, 100 Artists", South Carolina State Museum Columbia, SC

1998 Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, CO

1996 "Great American Artists," Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH

1985 "Birds in Art," Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI

1984 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, Charleston, SC

1982 "American Realism," Coe Kerr Gallery, New York, NY

1978 "Wild America," Kodak Gallery , New York, NY

1977 "The Artist and the Animal," High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

1976 "Bird Sculpture," Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

1975 Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia SC

1975 "Expressions of Nature in Art,", Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, SC

1975 "Animals in Art," Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Canada

1974 "Birds in the Wood," American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

1973 Talbot Countys Waterfowl Festival, Easton, MD

1972 Ward Foundation Exhibit, Salisbury, MD

1971 Telfair Museum, Savannah, GA

Currituck Sound Overlook

CurrituckSound Overlook SanderlingInn Duck, North Carolina

Brookgreen Gardens —Pawley's Island, SC

Ward Foundation Museum —Salisbury State College, MD

Gibbes Museum of Art —Charleston, SC

Dover Corporation —New York, NY

Dan W. Lufkin —New York, NY

Marshall Field —Chicago, IL

Michelin Group —Clermont Ferrand, France

Richard Mellon —Laughinton, PA

Bob Jones University —Greenville, SC

Sr. Juan March —Madrid, Spain

Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology —Camarillo, CA

Richard Jenrette —NewYork, NY

South Carolina State Museum —Columbia, SC

Audubon Society —New York, NY

John Rivers —Charleston, SC

Ogden Phipps —New York, NY

Mrs. William Ireland —Birmingham, AL

Mrs. Kenneth Taucher —Camden, SC

Grainger's sixty-four page color catalogue from 1999

Front Page of Grainger's sixty-four page color catalogue. Introduction by Robin Salmon and biographical essay by noted author James Kilgo. Published in 1999 to coincide with Grainger's exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens. View 1999 Catalog as PDF Order Latest Catalog

Badger, Curtis. Grainger McKoy: The Journey through Life and Art. Wildfowl Art (Winter 1990-91): 29-32, 54-55.

Bailey, Jim. The Real McKoy. Charleston 5, no. 1 (January-February 1991): 32-35.

Basile, Kenneth. Grainger McKoy. Ward Foundation News 9, no. 1 (Winter 1985): 2-5. View PDF.

Grainger McKoy. Introduction to Grainger McKoy: Recent Work. Exhibition catalogue. New York: Coe Kerr Gallery, 1984.

Birmingham Museum of Art. Bird Sculpture: A Native American Art Form, Refined. Exhibition Catalogue. Birmingham, Alabama: by the museum, 1976.

Brakefield, Tom. Wood Takes Wing. Sports Afield 181, no. 1 (January 1979): 56.

Brandywine River Museum. Bird Sculpture in Wood by Grainger McKoy. Exhibition catalogue. Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania: by the museum, 1993.

Bryant, Nelson. Wood, Field, & Stream: The Art of Bird Carving. New York Times, March 22, 1974. View PDF.

Buerschaper, P., and David Lank. Animals in Art. Exhibition. catalogue. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1983.

Carter, Art. The Sporting Craftsmen. New Albany, Ohio: Countrysport Press, 1994: 202-203.

Campbell, Virginia. Monumental Inspiration. Wildlife Art Magazine (March-April 2005): 75-78. View PDF.

Dickey, Gary. Woodcarving Revolution. South Carolina Wildlife (November-December 1975): 9-15.

Foster, Caroline. Grainger McKoy, True to Form. South Carolina Homes and Gardens (September 2004): 103. View PDF.

McKoy, Grainger. New Wings. Guideposts Magazine. (May, 1994): 10.

Hammer, Victor. Introduction to Grainger McKoy: Woodcarved Wildlife Sculpture. Exhibition catalogue. New York: Hammer Galleries, 1976.

Hoving, Thomas. My Eye: Diogenes-Come-Lately. Connoisseur (February 1985): 15.

Kilgo, ]ames. Sixteen Sculptures: The Birds of Grainger McKoy. Georgia Review (Spring 1993): 61-64.

Kilgo, ]ames. The Sculptures of Grainger McKoy. Exibition Catalog, Brookgreen Gardens 1999. View PDF.

Leigh Yawkley Woodson Museum. Birds in Art. Exhibition catalogue. Wausau, Wisconsin: by the museum. (1998).

Livingston, Mary Ann, and Nora E. Taylor. Incredibly Lifelife, Animal Models in Wood. Christian Science Monitor (April 11, 1974).

Major, Kirsten. Artists on Audubon: Sculptor Grainger McKoy. The Journal of the Lucy and John James Audubon Society. (Summer, 2004). View PDF.

Nichols, Margaret. Birds in the Wood. Field & Stream 79, no. 5 (September 1974): 45-46, 136.

Nutt, Amy. Art on the Wing. Sports Illustrated 79, no. 24 (December 13, 1993).

Pollock, Will. A Wing and A Prayer. Art & Antiques (January 2004): 68-71. View PDF.

Pridgen, Margaret. When Wooden Birds Take Wing. Clemson World 43, no. 3 (Fall 1990): 12-17. View PDF.

Robertson, Pat. The Oyster House Connection. Sporting Classics 2, no. 4 (September-October 1983): 35-45. View PDF.

Schroeder, Roger. Birds in Flight: The Carvers' Techniques. Wildfowl Carving and Collecting 5, no. 2 (Summer 1989): 25-30. View PDF.

Grainger McKoy. Grainger McKoy's Carved Birds. Fine Wood Working 32 (January-February 1982): 77-80. View PDF.

Sozanski, Edward. The real McKoy: An exhibition of carved birds. The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, ]uly 23, 1993.

Vida, Vince. A Living Master. Stanley Welch Magazine (October, 2005): 14-16. View PDF.

Warrington, Charles E. Expression Takes Flight: Works of Grainger McKoy. Wildfowl Carving and Collecting 5, no. 2 (Summer 1989): 53-57.

Wechsler, Charles. Art & Etc. Sporting Classics 17, No. 6 (November-December 1998): 40, 43, 45.

Wolff, Theodore F. The Craft Comeback: The Many Masks of Modern Art. Christian Science Monitor, November 29, 1984: 46.