Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Strive for the light, an exhibition of new paintings by Australian artist William Mackinnon, his first solo show in the UK. In this latest body of work, Mackinnon reflects on memories of trees in and around his family farm in western Victoria, Australia, and on formative experiences living in remote indigenous communities in the Kimberley region. Painted during a period of prolonged isolation as a result of lockdown, the symbol of the tree is imbued with a deep sense of longing for home, family, regrowth and regeneration.
Mackinnon’s ‘psychological landscape’ paintings, as the artist refers to them, predominately portray Australian landscapes and are vast in manners both terrestrial and emotional. Interweaving personal and cultural histories, his work absorbs the intensity of our present circumstances and ultimately seeks to convey how it feels to be alive in the world today. Trees and roads, recurring motifs in Mackinnons work, dominate scenes constructed from memory, while minute details, such as cracks in roads, potholes, roots and termite mounds, become stand ins for tumultuous emotional states. Movement and displacement abound in his pictures, conveying a sense of temporal urgency.