The hidden processes and patterns that shape organic life have always been a source of fascination. They also provide a fruitful seam for artists who are interested in how the natural world is classified and ordered. In Variations we are pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Mark Wright and Stuart Mackenzie RSA, two artists who use the taxonomy of nature as a framework for creating images of flora and fauna.
Mark Wright’s paintings approach nature on two levels. On the one hand they work as landscapes in the tradition of the view, with natural scenes described in gestural marks that are as much about painting as they are about representation. On the other hand, some elements of his works feel more akin to molecular imagery, an imaginative interpretation of barely visible worlds rendered through a range of painterly processes. When the two overlap, they create images of uncertain scale or situation that articulate something of the mystery of the unknown that is a key element of the sublime. Mark Wright is currently exhibiting at ‘Towards Night’ at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne, alongside artists including Caspar David Friedrich, Peter Doig and Louise Bourgeois. His work forms part of the David Roberts Foundation, Deutsche Bank and Wellcome Trust Collections and is held in many private collections.
Stuart Mackenzie’s images of wildlife examine the concept of the species, using monoprints to explore how an individual beast nevertheless conforms to the rigours of a type. Salmon trout, barramundi, pheasants and capercaillie are all rendered in textured oil on paper, each image run from a template using a process that combines repetition with unique markings and patterns. Stuart explores natural phenomena and its morphology through a range of painterly processes, each ‘autographic’ work combining processes integral to painting and print. The resulting works are flecked with random mottling’s that show diversity within the regular. In doing so Stuart uses his artistic process to suggest how individuality informs all natural reproduction. Stuart Mackenzie was made a member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2015. A number of his works are held in the Academy collection, as well as private collections worldwide.