David Mackenzie, #6-2009-9, 2009
Acrylic on engineered jute, 18 x 18 inches
October 27 – November 21, 2009
This is Mackenzie’s first solo exhibition in New York City. He has exhibited in numerous group shows including the Whitney Biennial, the American Academy of Arts & Letters invitational and is a member of American Abstract Artist. He has been painting for thirty-five years, working quietly on the problems surrounding contemporary abstraction.
David Mackenzie writes:
“The works in this exhibition are the result of a five-year reexamination of the issues that began with my career as a painter. Initially I started with an analysis of what a painting was or could become. I wanted to reinvent painting from the ground up. My first works were quite literally paint cast into various molds, peeled out and nailed to the wall. This form of reductive abstraction lent itself naturally to my investigations. From then on my work gradually became more and more complicated, going from cast paintings to stretched canvases and from minimal to chaotic. Now I am back to where it all began, throwing out the excess and opening new paths of exploration ”
“What interests me in a painting is tension, working with color, structure and space. I find I can never resolve a particular painting without having some form of tension among those elements. Tension is what I hope to achieve. Otherwise, the work becomes an inert object and is less dynamic.”
“There are three bodies of work that played an important part in the development of my work: Ken Price’s ceramic dome sculptures – for bringing together historical references to a new form, John McLaughlin’s minimal paintings – for their activation of space and Dorothea Rockburne’s drawings which make themselves – for a self-referential mode of expression.”
The Painting Process:
Mackenzie begins his paintings by embedding string onto canvas, using acrylic and also applying a low-tech screening process to “engineer” a physical substrate on which to work. He formulates his own paint, applying up to a dozen coats to achieve subtle color changes and surface variation. His interest in paint formulation and the physical qualities of paint comes from having studied ceramics while in art school.
Born in Los Angeles, California, he attended The San Francisco Art Institute where he became part of a group of painters working with new materials, processes and unstretched canvases. Today he lives in upstate New York along with his wife and two cats.