Indepth Arts News: |
"Virginia MacKenny: Sleepres (Sightlines)"
2003-06-10 until 2003-06-29
ZA South Africa
‘Sleepers (sightlines)’, Virginia MacKenny’s installation of paintings will be at the NSA Gallery opening on June 10. Conceived as a single work, the exhibition comprises over 40 paintings presented on two opposing walls in the gallery. On the one wall are three small paintings of the heads of passengers sleeping on trains. Resting upright, caught between destinations both geographical and internal, the sleepers face a grid of paintings that reflect different states of consciousness between waking and dormancy.
Dominated by blue the paintings become a colour field where large and small events gain equal prominence. Insignificant objects such as a child’s paper boat, a string of fairy lights or the image of the test block of an apprentice Egyptian scribe learning to render the ear in a single line, are juxtaposed with the floral tribute left at the robots of a local hijacking, an image of the path of subatomic particles and contemporary media images of world events such as 9.11.
The separate images, some iconic and emblematic, shift between different visual codes and are ultimately subsumed into a complex matrix where MacKenny engages with perception and ways of constructing meaning. Allusions to the eye, sight and blindness encourage speculative engagement with the capabilities of intuition and insight. Mixing reverence, nostalgia, irony and a sense of wonder the work encourages viewers to reflect on memory and memorialising.
MacKenny, a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the Durban Institute of Technology is a past winner of the Volkskas Atelier Award (1991) and has work in a number of public collections. She is a regular contributor to Art South Africa and is the KwaZulu Natal contributing editor of www.artthrob.co.za. She also engages contemporary art practice in the province as an independent curator.