Curated Member Showcase November 2019 - Lynsey Mackenzie

Nov 21st 2019

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. 


November 2019

Curator: Barry McGlashan

Theme: Painting

Barry McGlashan is a painter. 
A significant part of his early work was informed by travel thanks to a number of scholarships and awards, most notably from The Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. 
This left him fascinated by the language and seemingly endless dialogues which exist throughout the histories of Painting. In response to that interest and love of lineage, and following on from his most recent exhibition at John Martin Gallery in London (2018), he was invited to exhibit his work in the studio of the great Flemish Baroque artist, Peter Paul Rubens at the Rubenshuis Museum in Antwerp for a period of four months. The only contemporary artist to be included in the acquisitions and loan scheme, it was a career highlight.
His work has been exhibited extensively since graduating from Gray’s School of Art (Aberdeen) in 1996, with many paintings being held in public and private collections worldwide. He has also worked with institutions such as Aberdeen University, The Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh), Grays School of Art (Aberdeen) and The Mall Galleries (London) in various roles both in selection and judging but also as a mentor and in an educational capacity as a tutor at Grays School of Art between 1998 and 2005.
However, most important to him is that valuable time spent alone in the studio, painting. 
He shows regularly with John Martin Gallery in London, his next major show being in the Autumn of 2020, and also at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh where he will have a major exhibition in the Winter of 2021.
The Royal Scottish Academy -
John Martin Gallery -
The Scottish Gallery -

Lynsey Mackenzie

"There is a great sense of generosity in the paintings of Lynsey Mackenzie. She doesn’t feel the need to hide much in the dialogue with us, the viewer. So as time is spent, she adds and shows the adding. That accumulative way of working is laid bare and seems to feed the language of the painting, so the process leads the image. It’s a satisfying thing as an observer to see that joy of material, especially when used so intelligently to make such beautifully balanced and nuanced painting." Barry McGlashan



Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education
I originally graduated with a law degree, but I had always sought out art classes wherever I could, and soon the part-time classes snowballed to full-time - I studied on the Painting Course at Leith School of Art for two years and then I went to Glasgow School of Art, where I graduated with first class honours in Painting and Printmaking. 
Could you describe your practice?
In my work I am exploring ideas of transience, of shifting time and space. I am fascinated by the conversation between illusionistic space, painterly surface, and the painting as an object in itself.  
My practice is a combination of working from observation and memory; and working intuitively, responding to marks and colours. Often one painting becomes the source for another and I work across several canvases at once, so the paintings all inform each other. Often I work and rework areas over a period of weeks or months. When I am painting, it feels like I am playing a game of chess, making, and responding to moves. 
What are your art influences? Which contemporary artists/makers do you admire and why?
I look to Pierre Bonnard a lot - his use of colour is incredible, and he also worked from memory, using colour as an instinctive vehicle to convey sensations and feelings. 
Joan Mitchell is someone else I return to for her mark-making and use of colour. Her work has such energy, and a vibrating sense of space, without any pictorial depiction or use of perspective. 
As for contemporary artists - I have been looking at the work of Victoria Morton and Amy Sillman. I have learned a lot from the way they both play with the dialogue between abstraction and figuration, and also how they develop their work through the making of it. There is a balance of clear, deliberate decision-making and instinctive decision-making which is something I aim for in my own work. I like Amy Sillman’s description of painting as, ‘[…] a physical thinking process to continue an interior dialogue, a way to engage in a kind of internal discourse, or sublinguistic mumbling…’. 
What makes a good day in the studio for you?
Any day that a painting is going well! 
In the studio – music, audiobook, podcast, Radio or silence?
If I’m doing preparation work like stretching and priming canvases I might listen to a podcast, but when I’m painting I listen to music. I tend to find an album or two that gets me in to the right zone, and then, if the work is going well, those albums get put on repeat for quite some time! 
What is coming up next for you and where can we see more of you work?
I am currently on a residency with Saltspace in Glasgow, which will culminate in a solo show opening on 24th January. I am also working on a new body of work which will be exhibited in the RSA: New Contemporaries 2020, from 15th February to 11th March. 

Read more about Lynsey's work here