Curated Member Showcase March 2020 - Andrew Mackenzie

Mar 21st 2020

We are delighted to continue our Curated Member Showcase after a brief hiatus for the Annual Exhibition. Every month we will showcase three Visual Arts Scotland members, spotlighting their work & practice.

These showcased members will be chosen by a monthly guest curator. The invited curator will select makers & artists that interest them from our amazing membership. This will be based on a theme of their choice. 


March 2020

Curator: Sir Mark Jones 

Theme: energetic lines

Mark Jones was director of the Victoria and Albert Museum and before that of the National Museum of Scotland. He is now the owner of Golden Hare Books in Stockbridge, patron of VAS and chair of the National Trust for Scotland, Hospitalfield and the Pilgrim Trust. He is working on books about the nineteenth century medallist William Wyon and the twentieth century painter Algernon Newton. He is also Honourary President of Visual Arts Scotland.

Andrew Mackenzie

''Line plays a powerful role in Andrew Mackenzie’s work, introducing alien geometry into what might otherwise seem innocuous landscape. And yet it is not that the lines themselves, assertive though they are, create the strangeness in his work. Rather they reveal to the viewer, catalyse in the imagination, something powerful though latent that was already present in the image."


Andrew Mackenzie's work has been exhibited extensively. Most recently, 'The Opposite Shore', a solo exhibition of of new paintings and drawings at The & Gallery, Edinburgh. Other Solo exhibitions include four one-person shows with Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London; Temporary StructuresVeined With Shadow-Branches, Silver Between the Falls and Still Surfacing in 2017, 2014, 2012 and 2010 respectively. Approaching the Verge was with An Talla Solais in Ullapool in 2013, Delicate Ground with Amber Roome Contemporary Art (part of the 2006 Edinburgh International Festival), Sunlight on Grey-painted Steel, Watching Water Rise at The Talbot Rice Gallery Round Room, Edinburgh, 2003, and New work, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Leeds, 2002.

Group shows include Converge with Visual Art Scotland, RSA Edinburgh, 2016; Abstraction From Architecture, Edinburgh Printmakers, 2015; Space//Squared at White Space Gallery, San Francisco, 2014; Wider Than a Postcard, Breeze Block Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 2013; Drawn Away Together at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, 2013; A Parliament of Lines, at RMIT Gallery, Melbourne and The Pier Art Centre, Stromness, 2013; Evaluation of Space, Rochester Art Gallery, 2012; The Secret Confession, Edinburgh College of Art, 2010; RSA Annual, Edinburgh, 2011 (invited artist); Fleming Collection Summer Show, London, 2011; New Commissions from Edinburgh Printmakers at Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop, 2009; The Birthday Party, The Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, 2004; Viewpoint, National Galleries of Scotland, Banff, 2005; ArtFutures, The Contemporary Art Society, London, 2003, and Past Standing at The Changing Room, Stirling, 2003.

Awards include a Visual Art and Craft Maker Award 2015, several Creative Scotland awards, a Hope Scott Trust Award and an Arts Trust Scotland Award. He completed in 2011 a major commission for Crown House, a new office building on Kingsway in London.

He has also shown his work in many international art fairs, including fairs in New York, Toronto, London, Chicago and Paris.

Collections include Marchmont House, The University of Edinburgh, Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, The Fleming Collection, The Royal Academy, Edinburgh City Art Centre, Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh Academy and the Bank of America.

Andrew Mackenzie has been President of Visual Arts Scotland for the past three years. He is also a VAS Professional Member.


Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education

I was born in Banff, north east Scotland, and graduated with an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art in 1993. I live and work in the Scottish Borders.


Could you describe your practice?

I am a painter mostly, but I also make drawings and occasionally prints. Right now I’m working on a large scale sculpture to be installed in a wood.

All my work starts with an experience of a place encountered – often during a walk. Walking is a key part of generating ideas, and I will explore and record through notes, small drawings and photography. Sometimes, though, I get excited about a place because it reminds me of something I’ve seen in art history or film, or it causes me to make associations with something I’m reading or thinking about already – perhaps an issue about how the land is being used.

From these initial responses I develop the work in the studio.


What are your art influences? Which contemporary artists/makers do you admire and why?

I really like Martin Boyce – I think there are overlaps between his thinking and mine, although the work appears very different. Other artists I admire would be the painter Carol Rhodes and the furniture makers David Gates and Helen Carnac.


What makes a good day in the studio for you?

Unbroken time to concentrate on painting, with no admin or emails to deal with! I’ve just moved into a new purpose built studio, so am loving the luxury of space and flexibilty this provides.


In the studio – music, audiobook, podcast, Radio or silence?

All of the above, at different times, apart from audiobooks.. Silence if I’m writing - podcast, radio or music if I’m painting or drawing. I often listen to podcasts on science and philosophy. It’s handy that I can educate myself while working. Music is also important to set a frame of mind, depending on what I need at the time.


What is coming up next for you and where can we see more of you work?

I am currently working on the aforementioned sculpture for Marchmont House, which will essentially be a series of line drawings in space, through a woodland. I have never attempted this before, so am well out of my comfort zone, but am working with Old School Fabrications, who are very supportive.

I have also been developing public art for the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme, going into production phase now. This is a collaboration with Alec Finlay and Gill Russell - a major piece of work – which I hope will be complete in 2021.

I have a show coming up in London in December, depending on the Coronavirus, with David Gates and Helen Carnac in the Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London. In 2021 I’ll be doing another solo show with the & Gallery in Edinburgh, following the success of the last one in 2019.

Work pictured: One of 3 Service Station drawings which was was part of the Converge 2016 exhibition at the RSA.

Read more about Andrew here:

and here: