Photos by Natalie Hayllar at the Home Studio of Alexander McKenzie
Acclaimed Australian Artist Alexander McKenzie's new exhibition EDO opens at Martin Browne Contemporary on November 5th 2015.
The title of this latest exhibition reflects recent visits by McKenzie to Japan and his particular interest in Edo period gardens. The Edo period of the 17-19th centuries was a time of great political stability and seclusion from the world in Japan, which led to a flourishing of the creative arts.
I recently caught up with McKenzie in his home studio for a coffee and a chat and to talk about the ideas and inspiration behind these new works. Most of them were packed up ready to go but I did get a sneak peak of a few special pieces and they are incredible. We spoke of the magical Edo period gardens where the visitor is directed through the garden in a deliberate clockwise direction, encountering a series of scenes that are revealed at key points along the path. As in the gardens and McKenzie's work, often major elements are kept hidden until the last moment for maximum effect and impact.
This idea has played out in McKenzie's latest series of paintings where the strong narrative within the works is kept deliberately concealed until the viewer walks visually through the painting, discovering a series of scenes that are interwoven into the composition.
"This Edo period design idea is intended as a metaphor for real life, the uphill in the garden representing and uphill in life, arriving at the gardens summit simply reaching a peak in life" says McKenzie of the inspiration behind his new works. "I have taken this idea into the paintings where looking at the pictures carefully will reveal the story, for me it is this intended, almost unavoidable, maybe fatalistic walk that we go on in the paintings that truly echoes both our temporal and spiritual lives"
Alexander McKenzie has exhibited extensively with over 20 solo exhibitions in both Australia and UK since 1996. He is a five times finalist in the Archibald Prize for portraiture, and seven times finalist in the Wynne Prize for Landscapes.
For more information visit Alexander McKenzie
Opening night on November 5 at Martin Browne Contemporary.
Martin Browne Contemporary15-21 Hampden Street Paddington NSW 2021
PO Box 1691 Potts Point NSW 1335
Phone (+61) 02 9331 7997
Tuesday - Sunday from 11am - 6pm