The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is pleased to present New Work: Lucy McKenzie, on view from November 9, 2007, to February 24, 2008.
In her most recent body of work, Glasgow-born and -based artist Lucy McKenzie recreates the spaces of her home city’s famed 19th-century buildings. Rendering the bourgeois interiors in jeweled paint tones on large canvases, McKenzie arranges her paintings to function as walls, creating three-dimensional enclosures, like stage sets, within the gallery. Exposing the crude back side of the canvas, she elucidates the constructed nature of space and its corresponding social significations, collapsing the boundaries between art and architecture, history and the present, nationalism and globalism, originality and reproduction.
In this exhibition, McKenzie meditates on the architecture of Glasgow, replicating interior spaces designed by architects such as Charles Rennie Macintosh. Her interiors reference early 19th-century Scottish tea rooms, constructed by men, allowing the young artist to reinvent the spaces with a feminine touch nearly 200 years later. McKenzie’s work explores the concept of painting as artifice, a process through which one can create any world and transform any space. Though the spaces she re-creates are specific to Glasgow, they speak to a broader audience, asking us to question how we define our place in the world and challenging the validity of our codes of identification. McKenzie’s masterful hand and eye complement the thoughtful intelligence of her work, firmly placing her canvases in the realm of the most accomplished contemporary paintings.
The exhibition also includes a “sublet” of gallery space to McKenzie’s peer, Scottish fashion designer Beca Lipscombe. Lipscombe will present her fall clothing line in a constructed room within the gallery, much like a miniature boutique. An additional feature of the exhibition is a suite of 10 fashion drawings McKenzie illustrated for a calendar—rather than a traditional catalogue—of Lipscombe’s designs. The drawings are rendered in distinctly different artistic styles, many of which are borrowed from stylistic tropes used throughout the history of visual culture. This gesture aims to examine the parameters of commercialism and commodity in the art world, the fashion world, and the history of design.
The New Work series is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is generously supported by Collectors Forum, the founding patron of the series. Major funding is also provided by the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Nancy and Steven H. Oliver, and Robin Wright.