If group shows seem to pull the mind in several directions at once, Andrew Mackenzie’s solo show at Amber Roome has a certain edgy tranquillity. Mackenzie’s work is shifting from abstraction towards moody contemporary landscapes, skeletal tree forms layered against richly coloured backgrounds.
Sometimes a faint line of buildings remains where one has been painted then removed, the ghost of a street lamp, a pavement, a pylon. Titles like Underpass and Winter New Build, which sometimes appear in the paintings in copperplate, speak of unseen man-made presences which only increase the desolation, like a lone tree in an urban wasteland.
Mackenzie interacts with the historical idea of landscape; some of these paintings follow the most traditional of rules, a vista framed by trees, although the trees frame nothing but colour.
In Artificial Paradise, a fallen tree lurches towards another against a blood red sky which seems illuminated by lightning, cutting off the middle distance. It’s beautiful and unsettling, paradise perhaps, but poised on the edge of a darker, more threatening world.
Review Scotsman, 22nd August 2006