William Mackinnon: Strive for the light

, ,
Open: temporary closure

12 Berkeley Street, W1J 8DT, London West End, UK
Open: temporary closure


Visit    

William Mackinnon: Strive for the light

London

William Mackinnon: Strive for the light
to Tue 8 Dec 2020
temporary closure

Simon Lee Gallery presents Strive for the light, an exhibition of new paintings by Australian artist William Mackinnon, his first solo show in the UK.

Artworks

The legacy large family, 2020

Acrylic oil and automotive enamel on linen
220 x 320 cm (86 5/8 x 126 in.)
© William Mackinnon. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

contact gallery about this work

Same bed different dreams, 2020

Acrylic, oil and enamel on linen
200 x 260 cm (78 3/4 x 102 3/8 in.)
© William Mackinnon. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

contact gallery about this work

Uprooted, 2020

Acrylic, oil and enamel on linen
260 x 200 cm (102 3/8 x 78 3/4 in.)
© William Mackinnon. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

contact gallery about this work

Adventure and folly (after Guston), 2020

Acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen
260 x 200 cm (102 3/8 x 78 3/4 in.)
© William Mackinnon. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

contact gallery about this work

Learning to love the wind, 2020

Acrylic, oil and enamel on linen
160 x 130 cm (63 x 51 1/8 in.)
© William Mackinnon. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

contact gallery about this work


Added to list

Done

Removed

Simon Lee London William Mackinnon 1

Simon Lee London William Mackinnon 2

Simon Lee London William Mackinnon 3

Simon Lee London William Mackinnon 4

Simon Lee London William Mackinnon 5

Simon Lee London William Mackinnon 6

In this latest body of work, Mackinnon reflects on memories of trees in and around his family farm in western Victoria, Australia, and on formative experiences living in remote indigenous communities in the Kimberley region. Painted during a period of prolonged isolation as a result of lockdown, the symbol of the tree is imbued with a deep sense of longing for home, family, regrowth and regeneration.

Mackinnon’s ‘psychological landscape’ paintings, as the artist refers to them, predominately portray Australian landscapes and are vast in manners both terrestrial and emotional. Interweaving personal and cultural histories, his work absorbs the intensity of our present circumstances and ultimately seeks to convey how it feels to be alive in the world today. Trees and roads, recurring motifs in Mackinnons work, dominate scenes constructed from memory, while minute details, such as cracks in roads, potholes, roots and termite mounds, become stand ins for tumultuous emotional states. Movement and displacement abound in his pictures, conveying a sense of temporal urgency.

Throughout the exhibition, large paintings, made from acrylic, oil and enamel on linen (and a touch of glitter), present ancient, expansive trees in sparse, near barren settings, revealing Mackinnon’s painterly invention in his interpretation of Australia’s desert country. Knotted trunks and branches recall the the familiar and iconic river red gums of his childhood: a tree that is endemic to Australia. The smooth white or cream-coloured bark and lance-shaped or curved leaves, provide much needed shelter from harsh sun temperatures, while acting here as symbols for unique family dynamics, with each branch competing for light and finding space to grow. Earthen tones of saffron and umber are used to depict sun-scorched, near desolate landscapes, while the articulation of the trees themselves frame bleached backgrounds and far-off horizon lines, revealing a desire for regrowth and regeneration.

Darkness permeates many of Mackinnon’s paintings, and nocturnal car rides and dreamlike scenes, such as Same bed different dreams, are representative of his idiosyncratic style, revealing a passion for adventure. Ultimately, Mackinnon’s work plays on oppositions: light and darkness; comfort and threat; that which is deeply personal, yet profoundly universal. His large scale paintings alternately inspire feelings of anxiety and calm, an interplay that at once draws the viewer in and pushes them out. Imposing trees and vast landscapes are simultaneously welcoming and menacing, revealing on the one hand feelings of remoteness and abandonment – as seen in paintings such as Uprooted – while on the other, the intimacy and domesticity of family life, as in Learning to love the wind and Keep it in the family.

Installation view, William Mackinnon: Strive for the light, Simon Lee Gallery, London, 20 October 2020 – 16 January 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery. Photo: Ben Westoby

more to explore:

 
 

By using GalleriesNow.net you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience. Close