WEST AUSTRALIAN TODAY - 26/10/2007
New work with
a timeless edge
There's something about Brian McKay's work that resonates long after
you've seen it and this to me testifies to its timelessness.
McKay's New Work at Galerie Dusseldorf delves into the archetypical
symbol, augmenting circles, pyramids and squares, but in New Work the
archetype encounters a very personal language that has been developed
and then accomplished over time.
I really enjoy the slickness of McKay's oil on aluminium paintings;
they glean well the feeling of oil as it sits on top of a more impermeable
surface. Or should I say pseudo-slickness, because when you get up close
there is distinct hand-craftedness to the works, confusing the initial
summation that they had been produced by machinery.
This confusion is an important binary that McKay is setting up, to be
fooled into thinking these aluminium works are products of industry
is pivotal to their viewing. Fooled is too strong a word, seduced maybe.
And seduced you are because the slickness pulls you in and then the
obvious hand-process alludes nicely to the idea that beyond all industry,
beyond all scope of mass production, as Duchamp, Marx and others have
suggested, is the act of production itself. This tension between production
and its purpose and between the joy of making and its purpose lies at
the heart of McKay's work.
At times, it's a little difficult to work out whether McKay is an avid
fan of the Industrial Revolution or perhaps a follower of the Morris
craft movement. This ambiguity in his work, between polished surface
and scratchy line work, allows for some beautiful dancing surfaces.
His Triptych - Uno Dos Tres is a classic example. The slim vertical
panels resonate with a depth that shifts as you move back and forth
in front of them. Indeed, it contracts and expands, breathing an alternating
weight and lightness that exudes a very physical response. On top of
McKay's continual critique of production methods is a purposeful and
methodological development of painting as a process. This has led to
a unique understanding of the mechanics of art-making and a very individual
and creative language.
McKay: New Works is at Galerie Dusseldorf, Mosman Park, until November