William Mackinnon: Farewell Transmission, Pop-Up Exhibition, Blanc International Contemporary Art Space, Beijing

23 October - 27 November 2021

Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Farewell Transmission, an exhibition of new and recent paintings by Australian artist William Mackinnon as part of Blanc Art Space’s inaugural pop-up project in Beijing’s Shunyi District. This will be the artist’s first solo show in China. Mackinnon’s landscape paintings portray the world he inhabits with ebullience, wonder and whispers. Mackinnon combines the real and the imaginary to transform everyday experiences from the mundane to an enigmatic other. The artist draws on personal experiences and familiar landscapes in his paintings, which oscillate from richly detailed figurations to expressive near-abstractions, and that dwell in the space between the familiar and the unknown.

Mackinnon’s ‘psychological landscape’ paintings, as the artist refers to them, predominately portray 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 Mackinnon’s work, dominate scenes constructed from memory and materialise into the artist’s reflections on culture, heritage, family legacies and rivalries. Minute details, such as cracks in roads, potholes, roots, rocks, water, leafs, signposts, rainbows and termite mounds become stand ins for tumultuous emotional states in which thoughts of trauma, pain, loss and longing are positioned alongside feelings of regrowth, regeneration and conscious reinvention of the self. Mackinnon’s paintings play on oppositions: light and darkness; anxiety and calm, comfort and threat; that which is deeply personal, yet profoundly universal.