Spectator Magazine, July 2010

Andrew Mackenzie is an intriguing artist. His cerebral approach and beautiful, controlled drawing take his landscape paintings well beyond a genre that is all too often enslaved to the palette knife and the extravagant colour spectrum. He said recently, `I now feel less clear about what “landscape” actually is, and about what we mean by “nature” and “manmade”, than I ever have.´ His unusual methodology sees him confront the landscape armed with a notebook as much a sketchbook and then construct his preparatory drawings on the actual painting surface, building the painting on top, so that the `finished´ painting retains the ghostly marks of the exploratory drawing.

In creating these complex, layered paintings, Mackenzie produces a distortion of perspective and spatial reality, conflating disparate elements of the environments, such as trees and car parks or motorway footbridges on show. He uses an understated palette, occasionally enlivened by a searing bright cadmium red or lemon yellow, applied strong and flat to further obfuscate the actuality of the landscape. The resultant paintings, despite being filled with the most accurate and meticulous drawing, are almost abstract in their overall design. They are reminiscent in some ways of some Japanese printmaking, containing a similar complicated flatness and well-ordered compositional balance. They are undeniably beautiful.

Spectator Magazine, Claudia Massie

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