Lucy Mackenzie,
Lucy Mackenzie, "Summer Shirts" 2015, oil on board, 6 x 4 inches

At Nancy Hoffman Gallery, an exhibition of over 40 new paintings and drawings by Lucy Mackenzie is on view, the artist’s first show in eight years, including oil paintings of intimate scale and drawings. The exhibition continues through May 25, 2024. Her 2015 show, “Quiet,” set the stage for this, which follows in its footsteps. With continuing commitment, Lucy Mackenzie composes images that convey serenity and poetic observation.

The paintings measure from 3 x 3 inches up to 4 x 7 inches. The artist works for several months on each piece, creating around four paintings a year, objects of contemplation and devotion, each a timeless world, each a touchstone to a larger story of life.

Lucy Mackenzie, "Cup and Paper Cases," 2020, coloured pencil on paper, 6 x 3 ½ inches
Lucy Mackenzie, “French Cup and Paper Cases,” 2020, coloured pencil on paper, 6 x 3 ½ inches

Still life has been Mackenzie’s signature subject. While traditional themes of transparency and reflection have continued to fascinate her, the new paintings and drawings venture into unconventional territory. In “French Cup and Paper Cases” a finely pleated cupcake holder, waiting for batter, transcends its quotidian nature and becomes a vehicle for the artist’s symphony in grays and whites.

Lucy Mackenzie, "Model Aeroplane on a Chair," 2023, oil on board, 5 ½ x 4 inches
Lucy Mackenzie, “Model Aeroplane on a Chair,” 2023, oil on board, 5 ½ x 4 inches

In “Summer Shirts” colorful patterns peek through the folds of a freshly ironed pile of clothes. These everyday objects, isolated in pristine space, take on heroic and symbolic proportion. Not the “normal stuff” of still life, simple objects become a visual madeleine to memory.

Lucy Mackenzie, "Pink Boat," 2021, oil on board, 4 x 5 ½ inches
Lucy Mackenzie, “Pink Boat,” 2021, oil on board, 4 x 5 ½ inches

“Pink Boat” is an ode to the artist growing up in the Isles of Scilly. A traditional island boat, painted in an untraditional color by its female rowing crew, is moored near the shore in a sheltered bay. The viewer is witness to a moment suspended in time without the interference of people. A sunset-pink boat, forever floating and reflecting its color on the gentle waves of the sea.

In her recent work, subjects are more intimate and at the same time more sophisticated. Some of the subjects are commonplace objects, others spring from memory or are inspired by lines from favorite poets, including A.E. Housman, Wilfred Owen and Emily Dickinson. Mackenzie’s vision incorporates everything in her private world. Her home is a modestly curated work of art, with displays of china, fabrics, silver, and collections of many kinds from many eras.

Anything on which her eye alights might come under consideration for inclusion in a painting. The ordinary becomes extraordinary in Mackenzie’s hands. In her selection and close observation of objects, she finds beauty in a ball of twine, a London brick, a toy elephant, a cup perched atop a pile of books.

Lucy Mackenzie, "Pewter Plate with Found Objects (Horse and Branch)," 2020, oil on board, 5 ½ x 5 ½ inches
Lucy Mackenzie, “Pewter Plate with Found Objects (Horse and Branch),” 2020, oil on board, 5 ½ x 5 ½ inches

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