Andrew Mackenzie – Delicate Ground
Mackenzie revels in the seductive, snaking patterns which his trees create.
In these works Mackenzie combines an astute eye for design – the subtle placement of text and the dynamic interplay of colour – with a delicate painter’s touch. The surfaces of his paintings are ingrained with a secret visual history; with evidence of mark making (and subsequent erasure) creating a ghostly sense of embedded experience. On top of these delicate composites he depicts – mostly in flat colour – fragments of landscapes which possess a pleasing and enigmatic decorative quality. Like many an artist before him, Mackenzie revels in the seductive, snaking patterns which his trees create, here augmenting his compositions with carefully painted words – “bridge”, “underpass” – which nod towards the labelling of 19th century botanical drawings and create a thoroughly modern dialogue between the viewer and the ersatz representations of the text. Introducing type into traditional painted works is always something of a gambit, but the bold certainties of these words find a useful foil in Mackenzie’s shifting, skeletal backgrounds. On an aesthetic level, these are superbly well judged works and the artist displays great relish in creating vibrant oppositions of colour and pattern. A very satisfying show.
Skinny Magazine, 28th August 2006