Barbara MacKinnon's recent body of paintings, ‘Glimpses', presents a personal view of the urban metropolis. Through a limited, desaturated palette of soft contrasting neutrals, MacKinnon plays with light and the visual weight of form. Broadly painted blocks of semi-transparency are contrasted against opaque applications, nudging, overlapping and obscuring one another as they jostle for attention centre stage. Carefully defined lines and edges are drawn against a looser, more gestural and urgent pass of the brush, dissolving form in the process.
A recent move to the city has prompted MacKinnon's shift in focus. She has become enthralled by the subtle shifts in light as she sees it enveloping the fabric of her new surrounds. Early morning mists arising, the sun barely penetrating the heady atmosphere of winter's cloak, the glimpses of spaces and voids between concrete monoliths and the numerous after-images, instilled in memory. All these matters coalesce for MacKinnon in a series of quietly observed interpretations.
However, the paintings don't always arrive easily; they are wrangled with, scraped back and over-painted in a repeating search for an autonomous expression. Through this search, MacKinnon's evolving process presents a visual negotiation between fact and fiction. There are no figures, no populace to disorient her from a singular path; the search for light and for her sense of truth.
Matthew Browne, July 2019
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