In his latest exhibition, Internal Weather, which sold out pre-opening, William Mackinnon uses scenes of landscapes combined with observations from everyday life to convey the feeling of what it’s like to be in the world now and more specifically what it’s like to be Australian.
“I really want to get across my experience and the feelings associated with these places,” Mackinnon says. “It’s not really representational of a place; it’s almost more a psychological feeling of going somewhere or leaving.” The works carry with them a sense of nostalgia as Mackinnon is interested in his own personal experiences of the world. He uses the local scenery of places like Lorne where he has had a beach house for 15 years, as a starting point, adding elements from TV and advertising. For example, travelling to Los Angeles in fluences the work Strange Country. The black silhouettes represent trees as seen from the Eames house looking through to Malibu Beach and the cartoon-like, or collage-looking, trees are inspired by Lorne. “It’s trying to capture the complexity of the experience of all these things – the simultaneity of what it is to be alive,” Mackinnon says. “Although it’s a seemingly beautiful picture, there are rips in the water and the sun is incredibly hot.” Other works such as The Great Indoors (ii), Summer in Mullimbimby is a painting of a friend’s house where he has stayed a number of times. “It’s stuff we have an emotional investment in; it’s not an inanimate house.” The image is immediately familiar and captures the essence of summer.
The Great Indoors (ii) Mullimbimy
The works are deliberately unpolished with Mackinnon particularly interested in the natural evolution of the paintings. He doesn’t know how they are going to turn out; he starts off with an idea and each day a new part develops. “I like there to be a record of all the decision-making and the indecision and the thinking,” he says. “I want all that life and energy and the accumulation of time to be evident.” Mackinnon describes his earlier work as being much more eclectic with lots of different influences, but over time his work has become more personal. “I’m much more interested in what’s immediately around me and what’s inside my head and combining those two things. This show really is a good example of that.” For Mackinnon, painting has always been the main medium and he prefers to work on a large scale, as the viewer can’t look at it all at once. “I’m trying to communicate a feeling and the curiosity of looking,” he says. “I want the viewer to enjoy the playfulness of the quality of the paint and the scale. Also, to see the works beautifully lit in a gallery is a nice experience and it can’t be beaten.” William Mackinnon Internal Weather Hugo Michell Gallery Until Saturday, March 12 wmackinnon.com Title image: William MacKinnon, Slow Down (Detail)