Jul 11th 2019
Every Month we will showcase three Visual Arts Scotland members, spotlighting their work, routine and practice.
These showcased members will be chosen by a guest curator. The invited curator will select makers/artists that interest them from our amazing membership. This will be based on a theme of the curator's choice.
The chosen members will then write a little about their practice, providing an artists statement and answering a few questions about their studio routine.
Curator: Andrew Mackenzie, award winning artist & President of Visual Arts Scotland
Theme: Associate Membership - recent graduates, emerging artists/makers
Andrew Mackenzie was born in Banff, North East Scotland, and graduated with an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art in 1993. He lives and works in the Scottish Borders. His work has been exhibited extensively, most recently with The Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary and Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London.
‘’I have chosen three artists from our associate membership. This is the VAS membership category for recent graduates and emerging artists, and mostly the result of our commitment to visiting the degree shows across Scotland each year, and selecting up to 4 or 5 artists and makers from each. This is one of the most vital and rewarding parts of what we do in VAS - we showcase the work of 5 graduates in our annual show each year at the RSA. In 2018, we also mounted a show at Summerhall in Edinburgh focused on out associate membership.
Daniel Craddock graduated from eca in 2018, and he makes 'object paintings' made from wood, linen and paint. I saw his work in the eca degree show, and we selected him for Alight at the RSA in January 2019. The repeated forms of the object paintings are configured on the wall in a series of rough cross shapes, overlapping verticals and horizontal, and - although abstract - are (I think) derived from journeys the artist has made across the city. I like to imagine when I look at them that some of the colour and surface is derived from repeated glimpses from the window of a bus - edges of buildings, housing etsates or shopfronts, fragments of sky, observed changes. They also work beautifully as both formal and emotional responses to what painting actually is, and the way they relate to the room in which they are placed, causing associations in the mind of the viewer. Some of the wood (looking like wood used for stretcher making) is left bare, some painted.''
My practice at this current time is in a balanced state. After my two shows at the RSA, including VAS’s annual exhibition; ‘Alight’ I haven’t attempted to alter huge chunks of my practice.
Since the spring, I have rested, consolidated my thoughts and not scrutinized my practice purely for the sake of it.
My work as a painter continues to follow a certain set of formal parameters. Examples of these parameters would be size and scale consistently ranging between 30 and 50cm. Colour combinations being devised from immediate surroundings, and application staying consistent with fabrication. It is sticking to these parameters which create an orderly, balanced aesthetic.
On the contrary however this approach also provides the potential to offset the balance, and delineate different sensibilities and intertwine opposite painterly languages.
Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education
When I was a kid I would walk around the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool for hours
on end. I understood early on that I had a talent for painting and drawing. It wasn’t
until I was accepted into Edinburgh College of Art that I could bring about the
development my work needed. On a daily basis being surrounded by so many people of different experience, who all share your enthusiasm helped to shape, and refine my approach.
Could you describe your practice?
I tend to work on different projects, which explore different themes. However there
are common threads throughout all of my work. My colour combinations which come
from my immediate environment, my consistency in scale, my inconsistency in
application and my exploration in regards to surface.
What are your art influences? Which contemporary artists/makers do
you admire and why?
Mary Ramsden is a big influence on my work. She described her paintings as
‘unapologetically painterly’, that’s something that I can relate to in my own work.
What makes a good day in the studio for you?
I have targets for each day I am in the studio. These targets can range from having
five canvases stretched and sized, to having base layers in place. A good day would
be when I reach my target, and I feel confident about completing my next one.
When I can genuinely visualise a project moving forward is a good day.
In the studio – music, audiobook, podcast, Radio 4 or silence?
Silence, even a slight mark on the wall puts me off.
What is coming up next for you and where can we see more of you
I am continuing to paint and exhibit in and around the North-West, I have been
working on my application for the 2020 John Moore’s Painting Prize. In addition to
that, I have been gathering enough funds to begin a new project in the autumn.
I haven’t ruled out a return to education to complete my masters, however that will
be a decision that is taken in due course. And will only be considered if I am
absolutely ready and prepared.