STILL SURFACING

In this new body of work, Andrew Mackenzie confronts heterogeneous notions concerning the history of art, aesthetics, and man’s relationship to his natural environment. He mixes deliberate references to both classical landscape painting and modernist painting and architecture; whilst considering non romantic functional urban sites, his work simultaneously alludes to an aesthetic which indulges our romantic notions of wilderness. He brings to the fore the modernist idea of the physicality of the painted surface through the layering of car parks, quarries, reservoirs, trees, stone and gravel.

Inspired by his native Scotland, Mackenzie’s paintings show the man made and the natural world irrevocably entangled; we see plants and trees reclaim quarry sites and witness the sinuous lines of branches in conflict with the hard straight lines of skeletal modernist structures. His work visually questions whether it is now possible to draw the distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘construct’ or indeed if it ever has been.

Mackenzie also investigates painting as an object of process by leaving the trace of each moment of this process visible in some form on the surface. Moreover, he emphasises the traditional painterly construction of illusionistic depth through perspective by layering diagrammatic drawings of structures, whilst conversely disregarding this illusion of depth as trees unconventionally float unanchored over other trees.

In Mackenzie’s paintings we feel a collision of temporalities – they are a backward glance at the artifice of functional architecture, nature and landscape, painting and representation. They are however also visions of the ghosts of possible futures; the premonition of an ever present power struggle, or otherwise the hope for an ideology of compromise between the man made and the natural.

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