photo: Massey (Site Photography)
Landon Mackenzie "Posie," 2008-16
Landon Mackenzie "Posie," 2008-16, oil on canvas, 48" x 36"
Headbones Gallery will be showing the works of two Vancouver artists in the exhibition Rightside Up; Landon Mackenzie and Paul Mathieu opening September 16 with a public reception with both artists in attendance.
Landon Mackenzie, recipient of the Ian Wallace Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009, teaches at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver and is no stranger to the Okanagan. Her exhibition Parallel Journey: Works on Paper (1975 – 2015), curated by art historian Liz Wylie showed at the Kelowna Art Gallery Oct 2015 to mid January 16, 2016 and was accompanied by a retrospective book published by Black Dog Press, London, UK. During this time The Mentorship Program with UBCO’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies invited Landon Mackenzie to be the mentor. “This new program assists students to learn from successful artists through presentations, one on one clinics, informal round tables, visits and collaborative sessions,” says June Nicolay, the Kelowna benefactor of the program. Mackenzie’s mentoring initiated a collaborative “mail art” project between Emily Carr University and UBCO students. She led the first of three informal round tables and critiques that included students; independent emerging artists (such as alumni Charles Conner, whose solo exhibition was showing at Kelowna’s The Alternator Gallery) and professional members of the art community including Patricia Ainslie, curator emeritus of Calgary’s Glenbow Museum; Robert Dmytruk, senior painter; and Katie Brennan, artist and curator. In conjunction with her exhibition at the KAG that showed over two hundred objects and images spanning forty years of works on paper she continued a parallel practice - the production of her large works in painting that Mackenzie is nationally recognized for. Her accomplishments are formidable and her work can be seen in significant collections. The Vancouver Art Gallery exhibited Emily Carr and Landon Mackenzie: Wood Chopper and the Monkey September 2014 to April 2015 – two female artists whose ‘waves’ cannot be ignored.
Paul Mathieu, "Kiss Bowl"
Paul Mathieu, "Kiss Bowl," porcelain, 18 x 12 x 18 cm.
Paul Mathieu is also an international presence in the art world, recognized for his work in ceramics. He too teaches at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver. Mathieu’s connection to the Okanagan comes through Oakes’ recent exhibition at The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery Awestruck Calendar of Ecology where Paul Mathieu was exhibiting another porcelain p and digital photography project, Flower Vases with Flowers in a Vase.
Headbones Gallery will be exhibiting twelve of his Kiss Bowls, works made in Jingdezhen China where all of the services that carry an idea through to a physical end were at his disposal and backed by over a thousand years of perfecting porcelain. The history of Jingdezhen and porcelain was as dramatic as the gold rush for making porcelain was an art guarded by the Chinese and bartered as world trade expanded. In The Kiss Bowls Paul Mathieu shows that there is more connectivity than protection in contemporary art practices.
Headbones Gallery opens their joint exhibition Rightside Up with a public reception on Friday September 16 from 6 – 8 PM. Pairings often result in simpatico and between these two artists, it is palpable.
The major piece that Headbones will be presenting by Landon MacKenzie is a gigantic painting aptly titled Runway. When standing in front of this piece, a sense of open space propelled by a two point perspective appears to emanate from the center in wiggling waves as if bearing witness to a theory of evolution that could give rise to infinite creations. This sensation is reinforced by medallions, like Chinese symbols or invisible signals floating in the air like snow in the whirl of a blizzard. It sums up the concept of centrifugal imagery. This work is accompanied with small works on paper in inks and watercolour.
Paul Mathieu takes another potent icon, the kiss, and reveals the universality of this embrace by examining it through many aesthetic combinations. The kiss is also a vortex. From the centre the kiss pulses out and around, from one to another, an interchange of energy. Mathieu revisits the kiss many times and we grow giddy with the possibilities he has conjured from the same act of two lips meeting as the initial first step in many liaisons, connections or pairings is made both universal and specific under his hand. Kiss Bowls having been made in China are evidence of the success of the process which was also a pairing, a relinquishing of individual identity in a creative and poignant meeting. Mathieu invited the Chinese artists who worked with him to lend their own input to each piece, often finishing long after he had withdrawn from the physical process of making. The works retain this like a memory of an intimate moment for Mathieu elevates the meeting of individual entities at the exact moment when they physically connect.
Landon Mackenzie’s work often begins with cartography and maps her journeys through a unique and expressive mode of mark making. The digital age has brought about maps that may today reside more often in a hand-held device than on paper. Mackenzie, with her references to cartography encompasses the original meaning of mapping - to stay on track so as not to get lost when negotiating new terrains. Hers are mind maps that open an awareness of the relationship between a journey and inner meanderings. By rooting this inner voyage in an expressive piece, she grants directions without pinning down a route that has to be taken by the ‘reader’ of her ‘map’. In this way the nuances of her personality also lend shape and colour to the viewers’ experience of the works without dictating the way that they mentally traverse the time spent in the presence of the piece.
Rightside Up reinforces the scope made possible when two artists with evident mutual affection and respect for the other’s works exhibit in tandem while in turn their works inspire others. Informed and confident, each artist maintains a mature practice that can helps us to override the cacophony of modern dissonance.