Biography

I am largely a self-taught artist. Although I briefly attended Edinburgh’s Telford College, I educated myself as a landscape painter for 8 years before shifting direction to more surreal work. I won the National Open Art Competition in 2014 and was nominated for the John Moores Prize the same year.

Solo exhibitions include ‘You were shit in the 80s’ at The James Freeman Gallery, London, 2015, and The Hayhill Gallery, London, in 2013. His work has been included in numerous group shows including ‘Here Today…’ curated by Artwise, Art16 with Bo.lee Gallery, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and the Lynn Painters Stainers Prize. Collections include Simmons & Simmons, selected by previous Turner Prize judge Stuart Evans; The Ivy in London; and the family of John Moores.

Born in the Highlands of Scotland in 1979, I recall drawing from an early age; obsessively drawing and re-drawing pictures, trying to achieve perfect scale and efficient ways of devising images.

Through this compulsive process, and drawing on my education in illustration and design (Edinburgh’s Telford College 1997-99). In the summer of 2001 I took the plunge holding a solo show in Grantown-On-Spey museum with landscapes in watercolours and ink. For the next 9 years I continued with landscape painting achieving commercial success, holding a variety of shows throughout Scotland, gaining some great commissions from members of the exclusive Carnegie Club, amongst others. But when I wasn’t working I was sketching a different world. One that needed to be explored. In 2010 I relocated to london using the pseudonym ‘Mackie’ to persue this new concept.

Artists Statement (June 2016)

My paintings are an exercise in attraction. Through them I am constantly searching for new ways of communicating with the viewer. By seducing them with my imagery, I try to create a new visual language with the power to pique their attention and make them stop to ask: why? Desolate landscapes, decrepit houses, and incongruous moments of glory come together to suggest the presence of a narrative that exists as much in the viewer’s mind as in the painting. This is how I aim to use my works: as the space for an imaginary dialogue between strangers.

Artists Statement (April 2014 for The John Moores Painting Prize catalogue)

As the story goes, Paul McCartney woke up with the song “Yesterday” buzzing about his head. He seemed to have written it entirely during his sleep. On the presumption that he had heard it before he sang it to the rest of the band, who informed him it wasn’t an old song. It was a bloody good new one.

I had a similar experience in that my subconscious helped me with my idea.

Having worked on this idea for five months, it still appeared to be going nowhere. I was stuck on using chiaroscuro toys and iconic horror buildings, like the hotel from “The Shining”, but I couldn’t finalise the idea. Realising that I had become too enamoured by their presence I scrapped the concept. A few days later I woke up, suddenly clear that rather than abandoning the concept, I should in fact abandon the toys and and the horror film locations, leaving an unusually empty, anonymous architecture. A great place to begin.

CV

Solo Shows

December 2016 – “Where we Belong” Bo.Lee Gallery at Pulse Miami

October 2016 – “We Were the Coca Cola” James Freeman Gallery, London

March 2015 – “You Were Shit in the 80’s” The James Freeman Gallery, London

April 2012 – Hayhill Gallery, Cork Street, London

Selected Group Shows

2016

Petrichor – Bo.Lee Gallery @ Greek Street

The National Open Art Competition, Mercers Hall, London

Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, London

Bo.Lee Gallery @ Art16, Olympia, London

Mono no aware @ Bo.Lee Gallery HQ

Silk @ James Freeman Gallery, London

Bo.Lee Gallery @ London Art Fair

2015

Art on a Postcard, Soho Revue, London

The National Open Art Competition, Royal College of Art, London

Abditory @ Bo.Lee Gallery, Dulwich, London

The Royal Academy Arts  Summer Exhibition, London

James Freeman Gallery at the Ivy Club, London Book Fair, Olympia

2014

Here Today… The Old Sorting Office, London, W1

Miniare @ Bo.Lee Gallery, The Crate, Notting Hill, London

The James Freeman Gallery, Upper Street, London

The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, London

Caiger Contemporary Art, Battersea, London

The Hayhill Gallery, Baker Street, London

2013

The Hayhill Gallery, Baker Street, London

Eton Contemporary Art Gallery

2012-2006

Hayhill Gallery, Cork Street, London

The Carnegie Club (landscapes)

The House of Bruar (landscapes)

Highland Mori Museum (landscapes)

Art Prizes

2016 December – Pulse Prize Nominee

2016 January – W. Gordon Smith Award contestant – Dovecot Gallery, Edinburgh

The Towry Award for best in show at The National Open Art Competition 2014, 18 September to 25 October at Somerset House London, moving to Chichester Minerva Theatre

2014 John Moores Painting Prize 2014 contestant – Walker Gallery, Liverpool

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize contestant, April 2014 – Mall Galleries, London

Collections

Simmons Contemporary

Mr and Mrs Barney Moores

Vanessa Branson

The Ivy (London)

Publications & Press

17/6/2015 GLOBAL CORPORATE COLLECTIONS Edited by Friedrich Conzen Max Hollein and Olaf Salié
The richly-illustrated “Global Corporate Collections” publication presents 100 of the finest active corporate collections from all over the world, from different industries and with different artistic focal points – hand-selected by a high-profile advisory board. The ambitious project is supported by AXA ART insurance, Art Finance (Gazprombank Group) and Sotheby’s. The book is edited by Friedrich Conzen (Managing Director, Werkladen Conzen Kunst Service, Duesseldorf), Max Hollein (Director, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main) and Olaf Salié (Managing Director, Deutsche Standards, Cologne). Chief copy-editor is Gérard A. Goodrow (Free-lance author and curator, former Director Art Cologne). In a substantial introductory part, “Global Corporate Collections” presents the topic of corporate collecting from different angles, with numerous emotional, intellectual and contextual aspects. The essays explore change and growth of corporate collections in exciting interviews with staff and curators or in dialogue between marketing-managers and exhibition experts. The main part shows the selected corporate art collections in individual profiles on three double-spreads each. It also analyzes the various reasons for collecting art: How are choice works of art brought into new contexts to inspire creativity? What is the role of corporate collections in finding aesthetic value and intellectual stimulation? Does the collection repre- sent corporate values of a firm or brand, ready to be communicated to internal and external target groups, opening up new perceptions of corporate culture? Does art in the corporate context lead to a competitive advantage, when it comes to recruiting new talent? “Global Corporate Collections” is the second volume to a highly successful previous publication on impressive company-owned collections in Germany published in 2012. It provides unparalleled insight into the unique experiences that works of art offer to the creative environment of modern corporations. VIEW BOOK

17/3/2015 A-N The Eerie World of Mackie - Antonia Jackson
An alleged spat between Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon is the theme running through Mackie’s exhibition “You were shit in the 80s” currently on show at James Freeman Gallery. However, rather than focusing on these alleged disagreements, the viewer feels drawn into a strange and eerie post apocalyptic world where derelict manor houses and abandoned caravans are populated by modern and contemporary art works. Mackie claims that his paintings are playful and refer to the idea of the doll’s house. Yet they also feel ominous, transporting us into a post-nuclear not so distant future where all that remains are a few derelict ruins sheltering the works of Bacon, Freud, Hepworth and Emin, the last traces of our extinct civilisation. And this situation doesn’t seem so implausible since art has survived through the ages from Prehistoric times.

Thus, Mackie’s paintings allow strange dialogues between the past (in the form of the ruin), the present (contemporary art) and the future (a post nuclear world). Fragments extracted from their original context and brought together by the painting process develop unexpected correspondances and open up poetic dialogues reminiscent of T.S. Eliott’s Four Quartets: “Time present and time past, Are both perhaps present in time future, And time future contained in time past”. For example, a 1970s brutalist watchtower housing a Hockney painting (All by my own hand, part 1) might have the feel of a 1960s-70s sci-fi movie and a derelict manor housing a Freud nude (You were shit in the 80s) in its loft might remind of a victorian gothic novel. It is up to the viewer to immerse himself in Mackie’s paintings and let his imagination run free. Mackie’s exhibition is nicely complemented by Corean artist Hyunjeong Lim’s solo exhibition “The figures by the sea” on lower ground floor whose practice revolves around drawing imaginary worlds rooted in memory and identity. Both exhibitions run until March 28 at James Freeman Gallery. VIEW ARTICLE

17/3/2015 20 MINUTOS - ARTREND El pintor Mackie ironiza sobre las rencillas entre grandes artistas en Eras una mierda en los 80 - Jose Gonzalez
  • A partir de la frase de Freud sobre Bacon, que mantenían una amistad que echaba chispas, el escocés monta una exposición sobre celos artísticos.
  • Mackie pinta paisajes etéreos con edificios en ruinas dentro de los cuales reproduce obras emblemáticas contemporáneas nacidas de la fricción.
  • La inspiración está en las polémicas públicas de David Hockney contra Damien Hirst, Henry Moore contra Barbara Hepworth, Whistler contra Millais…

“En ocasiones los artistas son como los demás, tienen sus desacuerdos. A veces son diferencias profesionales, a menudo no lo son, pero siempre dan para una buena historia“. No hay mucho que añadir a las intenciones del pintor Mackie —firma del escocés Andrew McIntosh (1979)— para engancharse a la propuesta que expone en Londres —James Freeman Gallery, hasta el 28 de marzo— bajo el título de una sonora y muy famosa frase despectiva escupida por el maestro Lucian Freud contra el no menos genial Francis Bacon: You Were a Shit in the 80s (Eras una mierda en los años ochenta).

La exposición parte de las abundantes fricciones que pueblan la historia del arte y que Mackie ha usado para crear una sugestiva y potente serie de óleos que llevan las polémicas al nada neutral terreno de paisajes etéreos de edificios en ruinas que el escocés pinta con estilo hiperrealista. En un territorio de decadencia y vacío, Mackie incrusta obras de los grandes pintores enfrentados, reproducidas con delicadeza y detalle dentro de estancias de las construcciones aisladas y envejecidas….

‘Su mejor momento, su peor momento’

La muy sonora crítica de Freud a Bacon —amigos íntimos (el segundo pintó al primero en el tríptico Three Studies of Lucian Freud, de 1969, y el primero hizo un homenaje póstumo al segundo con un cartel de se busca tras el robo de una obra), aunque demasiado dominantes e intransigentes como para soportarse a todas horas— vale a Mackie para traer a la luz otras notables y encendidas polémicas públicas entre artistas de primera fila para, según anota la crítica Alison Bracker, contemplar bajo una nueva luz “las chispas que encienden los artistas en su mejor momento y, tal vez, en su peor momento”.

David Hockney hizo constar en 2012 en una exposición que “todas las obras” habían sido realizadas “personalmente por el artista”. Era una crítica directa contra Damien Hirst, con quien el primero considera “insultante” que le comparen. Mackie coloca a cada uno en su sitio pintando una pieza pop de Hockney en el área de servicio de una autopista y el tiburón en un acuario de Hirst en un establo abandonado. El título de ambos cuadros es también un guiño de reproche: All By My Own Hand (Todo de mi propia mano).

Bacon, en un asilo abandonado

El par de pinturas sobre el combate no-tan-amistoso de larga duración entre Freud y Bacon sirven al artista para colocar el dramático Standing by the Rags del primero en un edificio gótico desmoronado, mientras que la segunda versión del tríptico de Bacon es introducida en un asilo fuera de uso cercano a Glasgow —todos los edificios pintados por Mackie existen y fueron pintados del natural—. La forma en que afronta las obras, rodeadas de niebla y con una luminosidad invernal, siempre refuerza “la presencia del otro, sea el rival del artista, el espectador de la pintura de Mackie o ambos“, añade Bracker.

Otras pejigueras artísticas tomadas por Mackie como inspiración son las de Henry Moore y Barbara Hepworth sobre quién fue el inventor del agujero o espacio vacío en la escultura —el óleo alusivo sitúa obras de ambos en un chamizo campestre— y James Abbott McNeill Whistler, quien mantuvo agrios enfrentamientos contra dos de sus contemporáneos, John Ruskin y John Everett Millais. El famoso Retrato de la Madre del Artista del primero aparece en una tienda de discos abandonada pintada por Mackie.

‘Casas de muñecas’ para una distopia artística

Los organizadores de You Were a Shit in the 80s dicen que los óleos del pintor escocés son como “documentos nostálgicos sobre una época donde la creatividad cultural era abundante” y el “truco” de Mackie de revelar las obras maestras de los polemistas mediante la eliminación de una de las paredes de los edificios en decadencia parece colocar las piezas en “casas de muñecas” de un paisaje de distopia artística. VIEW ARTICLE

12/3/2015 THE GUARDIAN Blood on the Canvas: The Greatest Feuds in Art History - Jonathan Jones
In his exhibition You Were Shit in the 80s, artist Mackie imagines fictional feuds between great artists. He didn’t need to. Real art history is riddled with rivalries – from Leonardo’s attempted castration of Michelangelo’s David, to Picasso and Matisse’s love wars.

What are the greatest artistic feuds in history?

An exhibition by painter Mackie at James Freeman Gallery looks back at some recent rows between famous artists. It is called You Were Shit in the 80s, which Mackie imagines was an insult exchanged between Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. The great painters fell out, he claims. If this is true, then it was a blip on a beautiful relationship. They painted each other with great intensity, and the evidence of their portraits of one another suggests that Bacon and Freud were much more friends than enemies. After Bacon died and Freud’s portrait of him was stolen in Germany, Freud made a Wanted poster for it that felt like an act of mourning. So I don’t buy the idea of them hurling banal insults at one another.

Nor is the feud between David Hockney and Damien Hirst that Mackie also chronicles in his paintings really much of a clash. Hockney does not like Hirst’swork, but why would he? One is a painter, the other a conceptualist. They are chalk and cheese.

To have a real feud, artists need to have something in common – they need to be rivals, in the same space and moment, for the same prize. That’s why the greatest artistic feud ever is that between Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Leonardo and Michelangelo were enemies because they were so similar. Both were trained in Florence, and both were gifted in a way contemporaries considered “divine”. It was when they were challenged to paint the same hall in competition with each other that their relationship went pear-shaped.

Michelangelo insulted Leonardo in the street, shocking bystanders when he sneered at the older genius for never finishing his statue of a horse in Milan. Leonardo said at a meeting about where to site Michelangelo’s David that the nude statue needed its penis covering up – a symbolic castration of his rival.

Picasso and Matisse were similarly rivalrous. As with the two Renaissance titans, it seems incredible that two geniuses such as Matisse and Picasso both emerged in early 20th-century France. They respected one another but also eyed each other up in a tense, cynical way. The most bizarre example of their lifelong tensions came when Picasso introduced his new lover Francois Gilot to the elderly Matisse. The sensual artist of colour charmed Gilot so much so that Picasso became sexually jealous. He was threatened by Matisse as a man as well as an artist.

There have been worse feuds. Italian Renaissance and Baroque artists even resorted to violence. The 16th-century craftsman Cellini, for example, murdered a rival goldsmith and – he confesses in his autobiography – contemplated killing a sculptor who got on his nerves.

Yet the saddest artistic falling out was surely between Van Gogh and Gauguin. The passionate, idealistic Van Gogh hoped to create an art colony in the south of France and got his hero Gauguin to come and join him. As their friendship deteriorated, Van Gogh cut off his ear and Gauguin fled, leaving Van Gogh to be institutionalised. So much for artists working together.

Art is messy and people get hurt. Sometimes it is fellow artists who get insulted or worse. And strangely enough, the greatest artists have the biggest fights. VIEW ARTICLE

11/3/2015 CREATIVE BOOM You were Shit in the 80s: When artists disagree it makes a great story - Katy Cowan
On occasions, artists are just like other people: they have their disagreements. Sometimes it’s professional, often it’s not, but it always makes for a good story. And so, with an eye for the soap opera in the history of art, artist’s arguments form the central theme of Mackie’s upcoming exhibition: You Were Sh*t in the 80s.

Scottish artist Mackie, featured previously, paints ethereal landscapes populated by isolated ageing buildings. But inside these structures, delicately and minutely reproduced, are some of the most iconic works from modern and contemporary art. Each relates to an artist argument; each is the fruit of friction. For example, one pair of paintings references the long-standing friendship between Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon that deteriorated into a spiteful tit-for-tat. Freud’s 1989 “Standing by the Rags” appears in a crumbling Victorian building in Toxteth; Bacon’s “Second Version of Triptych 1944” occupies an abandoned asylum near Glasgow.

Similarly with the press spat ahead of David Hockney’s 2012 Royal Academy show, when he referred to Damien Hirst’s work as “insulting to skilful craftsmen”. Hockney’s “Portrait of Nick Wilder” hangs in the upper floors of the deserted Pennine Tower at Lancaster Service Station, while Hirst’s shark sits screaming inside a padded room within an isolated country barn.

Each Master holds his own court, but the audience is curiously absent. This, in combination with Mackie’s settings, lends a Gothic curiosity to the work. His decaying architectural behemoths and empty landscapes have an after-the-deluge feel, as if these masterpieces were nostalgic documents of a time when cultural creativity was abundant. Mackie’s trick of revealing them by removing a panel from the face of the building also prompts a host of questions: what kind of collector uses these oversized doll’s houses for their art? Who is the intended audience in this post-creative world? And quite how far away might we be from this creative dystopia right now? VIEW ARTICLE

5/3/2015 CAMDEN REVIEW You were Shit in the 80s at James Freeman Gallery - Amy Smith
THAT famous Britpop rivalry between Oasis and Blur in the 1990s has nothing on the historical spats between some of the finest British artists. Scottish painter Mackie has decided to capture such squabbles in a series of Dollhouse paintings. In fact, he has taken it one step further and imagined conversations between the feuding creatives, deciding that Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon would have almost definitely insulted each other with the slur You Were Shit in the 80s, the title of two pieces and Mackie’s solo show at the James Freeman gallery, Upper Street.

Miniature reproduc­tions from both 20th-century masters are secreted within isolated derelict houses. The buildings stand alone, seemingly abandoned, until you notice the cutaway wall revealing a masterpiece.

Freud’s Standing by the Rags, 1989, appears in a decaying Victorian building in Toxteth; Bacon’s Second Version of Triptych, 1944, hangs in an abandoned asylum near Glasgow. These two great artists had a famously spiky and competitive friendship and it’s a smart move from Mackie to separate the two, remove an obvious audience and place them in isolation.

“Initially, his idea was to paint dolls’ houses but it was getting too heavy so he started taking out the more explicit elements,” said gallerist James Freeman. “The artworks are collected within a cherished dolls’ house, the place for your imagination.”

Hockney’s Portrait of Nick Wilder overlooks an eerily empty motorway from the Lancaster service station, referring to his cutting remarks in 2012 of Damien Hirst’s lack of “hands-on” craftsmanship. Hirst’s shark responds, floating mouth agape within an isolated country barn.

Another humorous work, Who Invented the Hole, pitches those two giants of sculpture, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, in an argument over who was the first to put a hole in it; Moore’s Oval with Points (1968-1970) stands tall in an abandoned farmhouse on a suitably frosty morning.

Beyond the homage to soap opera-style art world rivalries, there appears to be an overt comment on the nature of collecting, these great pieces are revealed as if caught trapped by a dusty host. There’s an almost gothic dereliction to these buildings that could allude to private collections or to the claustrophobia of art institutions where lauded pieces of work can stand unquestioned in the same room for decades. VIEW ARTICLE

1/3/2015 JAMES FREEMAN GALLERY CATALOGUE INTRODUCTION Sparks Fly - Dr Alison Bracker
‘He has been here, and fired a gun.’ – John Constable on JMW Turner, 1832

One of the art world’s great rivalries came to a head at London’s Royal Academy in 1832. JMW Turner visited the galleries on its annual Varnishing Day, when exhibiting artists put finishing touches to their work. After seeing how the vivid hues of one of John Constable’s paintings overshadowed Turner’s Helvoetsluys hanging adjacent, the latter picked up a brush and, in full view of the gathered artists, placed a daub of red paint in his own work, animating his maritime scene to such an extent that Constable’s painting suddenly paled in comparison. In so doing, he brought the professional antagonism between the two painters into the public sphere, setting the stage for ensuing artists who now air their rivalries via global media.

Turner ‘fired a gun’ in the form of a daub of paint. Contemporary artists have done so through words uttered to the press. In a remarkable series of new paintings, the Scottish artist Mackie revisits both the words and images related to some of the more infamous art world squabbles that have followed in Turner and Constable’s wake, including those between David Hockney and Damien Hirst, and Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Indeed, the title of two of the new paintings, as well as that of the exhibition itself – You Were Shit in the ‘80s – derives from Freud’s description of Bacon’s work of that decade as ‘ghastly,’ a sentiment Bacon in turn shared for Freud’s later work.

Mackie’s latest paintings restage the trivial rivalries and immense cultural status of these artists and others, including James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who publicly argued with not one, but three of his contemporaries: John Ruskin, John Everett Millais, and Oscar Wilde. However, they do so in arenas far removed from the pages of the tabloid newspapers, compelling us to look anew at the representation and effect of friction. Mackie relocates a renowned work by each artist – and thus, symbolically, their attendant feuds – to secluded and desolate buildings, continuing the ‘Abandoned Dollhouse’ theme he began in 2013. In You Were Shit in the ‘80s, Part 1 (Lucian Freud), he removes a panel from the back of a dilapidated Victorian building in Toxteth to reveal one of Freud’s largest paintings of a female nude, Standing by the Rags (1988-9), which normally resides in London’s Tate Britain. Surrounded by broken-paned windows and soot-stained bricks, Freud’s nude peers out of the meticulously delineated structure onto a field of overgrown weeds. Yet while a sense of isolation pervades the scene, the museum-like display and illumination of Freud’s painting implies the presence of another: the artist’s rival, the viewer of Mackie’s painting, or both.

In fact, …Part 1’s companion piece, You Were Shit in the ‘80s, Part 2 (Francis Bacon) suggests a dialogue between the two works. In …Part 2, Mackie plucks Francis Bacon’s Second Version of Triptych 1944 (1988) from the Tate collection and re-houses it in a disused asylum for men near Glasgow. The artist, who began drawing at an early age and sketched incessantly throughout his childhood to achieve perfect scale, demonstrates superb draughtsmanship in his depiction of a bleak, uninhabited building with boarded-up windows. A missing panel unveils Bacon’s triptych, each section spot-lit as if formally exhibited. Although the locations represented within You Were Shit in the ‘80s parts 1 and 2 are over 200 miles apart, Mackie suggests congruence between the two paintings through his palette, his rendering of the buildings, and the similarity of the fields they overlook. We may even imagine the two paintings within the paintings facing each other from across the field. Mackie accentuates the conflict inherent in such a scenario by not only highlighting the friction between the two artists, but also the discord between the foreboding structures and the land they inhabit, and between their deteriorated state and the prized artworks they contain.

In contrast, the artworks that animate All by My Own Hand, Part 1 (David Hockney) and All by My Own Hand, Part 2 (Damien Hirst) occupy very different spaces. Moreover, they seem destined never to meet, as if in recognition of the one-sided nature of the spat to which they allude. In 2012, David Hockney advertised his solo exhibition at the Royal Academy with the claim, ‘All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally,’ a dig at Damien HIrst and his extensive use of assistants. Hirst, however, never responded publicly to Hockney’s criticism.

All by My Own Hand, Part 1 recreates Hockney’s Portrait of Nick Wilder (1966) on the upper floor of Lancaster Services’ Grade II-listed Pennine Tower, its image of a sun-drenched Californian swimming pool echoed by the sunlight hitting the side of Mackie’s tower. The area around the service station is deserted, yet the lawn is well manicured, denoting care rather than abandonment. Hirst’s celebrated The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), on the other hand, stands forgotten in an anonymous country barn. Unlike the Bacon and Freud paintings in You Were Shit in the ‘80s, neither of the works in All by My Own Hand receive special lighting or display; neither seems to presume an audience. Nevertheless, Mackie’s imaginative use of architecture, exquisite handling of paint, and re-staging of canonical works of art throughout You Were Shit in the ‘80s entice viewers to look again at the sparks that fire artists at their best and, perhaps, at their worst.

18/12/2014 JACKSONS ART BLOG Mackie Reviews a Triumphant Year - Lisa Takahashi
You only have to take a visit to Mackie’s website to intuit that he is a painter with great vision, a sense of humour, ambition and imagination. With a painting in this year’s John Moore’s Prize exhibition and an award for ‘Best Work’ at this year’s National Open Art Competition, I wanted to ask him how he found 2014 – and give him a big pat on the back.

Lisa: This year has been a hive of activity for you – from winning the ‘Best Work’ Award at the National Open Art Competition to being included in the John Moore’s exhibition. What has been your highlight?

Mackie: The year has been immense. Two highlights for me. Winning the Towry award for best in show at Somerset House with The National Open Art Competition and a two day sequence in July. Day 1: selling a large painting to a former Turner Prize judge and curator of the distinguished Simmons Contemporary art collection via the James Freeman Gallery. Day 2: Going to Liverpool for the John Moores prize announcements, press day and private view to be told my painting had been bought by The family of the late John Moores. Two distinguished collections in two days! Previously I’d been a professional artist for 10 years without any real recognition so to suddenly be acquired by important collections whilst being in some of the top prizes for art really qualifies all the struggles and arguments that the previous 10 years had provided.

Lisa: What work have you been most pleased with in 2014?

Mackie: My current painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights” which is part of “Here Today” at the sorting office (wc1) in central London. Organised by artwise. With the plan of going on a world tour with the works.

Lisa: What has been your favourite exhibition this year?

Mackie: One of my buddies Nick Sherratt converted his studio into a living breathing artwork, with paintings, sculptures, drawings, models and general decoration. All wonderfully odd, funny and dark.

Lisa: What have you learned this year?

Mackie: Not to get your head wet in the rain and some painting stuff about balance and fluency.

Lisa: Did you face any creative struggles in 2014 and if so how did you overcome them?

Mackie: A few times. Mostly its when I forget to focus and concentrate on the work. Only way I get through it is to work harder. Paintings can really benefit from a struggle.

Lisa: What are you looking forward to in 2015?

Mackie: Solo show with the James Freeman gallery in March where I’m planning to unveil the large scale works.

Lisa: Which paints have you loved working with the most this year?

Mackie: Old Holland – green umber, Michael Harding – brilliant pink and Blockx – Cassel Earth. VIEW ARTICLE

24/11/2014 HERE TODAY... Catalogue excerpt, Artwise - Dr Alison Bracker
The Garden of Earthly Delights

Mackie relocates Hieronymus Bosch’s 16th-century triptych from Madrid’s Museo del Prado to a decrepit caravan in 21st-century Dungeness, Kent. Designated a national nature reserve, and a special protection area, Dungeness contains a fragile ecosystem that includes unusual plants, rare invertebrates, and birdlife. In the shadow of its nuclear power plants, and under ominous skies, Mackie’s caravan reveals the central and right panels of Bosch’s triptych. The central panel depicts a garden of lust, while the right panel portrays an especially violent hell. By inserting Bosch’s moral warning into the bleak beauty of Dungeness, Mackie alerts us that we risk losing our heavenly paradises to an accursed fate.

17/10/2014 THE INVERNESS COUIER North artist Mackie scoops major art prize - Calum McLeod
A HIGHLAND born artist has been named winner of the National Open Art (NOA) Competition, scooping the lion’s share of the biggest prize pot in British art.

The Grantown-raised painter, who goes by the single name of Mackie, won the Towry Award for the Best Work in 2014 in the 18th NOA Awards.

Mackie, who was shortlisted earlier this year for another major UK art competition, the John Moores Prize, won £10,000 as his share of a total prize fund of £60,000.

“I’m very pleased as I didn’t expect it,” Mackie, who now lives in London, said.

“The year has been immense. Showing in four massive competitions and winning one of them and at venues including The Royal Academy, The Walker Gallery, Somerset House, The Mall Galleries and Pallant House Gallery at Christmas time.

“From all the success/luck I’ve been offered a solo show with James Freeman gallery next March, where I’m really hoping to impress with a selection of new large scale works.”

Mackie’s award-winning oil paintings, A Summertime Retreat and Autumn Rhythm are now on display alongside the other prizewinning and shortlisted works at London’s Somerset House until 25th October.

The judging panel of printmaker Norman Ackroyd, Marrakech Biennale founder Vanessa Branson, photographer Caroline Irby and printmaker and draughtsman Chris Orr, also awarded a further 28 prizes in this year’s NOA competition. VIEW ARTICLE

30/9/2014 THE PRESS AND JOURNAL Highland artist scoops top art prize - Jane Candlish
A Highland-born artist has won the top prize at a major national art competition.

Andrew McIntosh, who grew up in the Cairngorms, was the winner of the prestigious National Open Art competition, scooping £10,000 in the process.

Winning the Towry Award for Best Work in 2014 caps a successful year for the 35-year-old painter, who has been shortlisted for four major prizes, including the John Moores Painting Prize.

Mr McIntosh, who paints under the pseudonym “Mackie”, said he was “nervous” before the announcement.

Mr McIntosh said: “It is great to win. It was very unexpected.”

He was previously based in Grantown, where he worked from a room in his mother’s house, but now lives in London, where he works from a small studio in Wimbledon with his partner and young son.

He said: “It is hard to make art into a career but I have been utterly determined. “

As an artist who has struggled and fluctuated for 12 odd years, it is a spectacular year and one that I am delighted with.”

He added: “To get into one of the big prizes is very difficult in its own right. In previous years I have only managed to get through to the second stage where you then get an email telling you that unfortunately the standard has been good but you aren’t quite good enough.

“So to get into the shows of four of the biggest prizes – John Moores Prize, Lynn Painter Stainers, Royal Academy and The National Open Art competition – this year is unprecedented. And then to top it off by being announced the winner is fantastic.”

His winning oil paintings both depict summer caravans parked in a landscape setting, however part of the vehicles’ exterior has been stripped away to show a decadent interior.

One has a wood panelled library with comfy chair, while the other has Jackson Pollock’s painting, Autumn Rhythm, hanging inside.

Judges at the competition included Vanessa Branson, the sister of Virgin boss Richard. She also bought one of Mr McIntosh’s winning pictures.

Mr McIntosh, who studied at Telford College in Edinburgh, also met the acclaimed artist Sir Antony Gormley, who created the famous Angel of the North, at the prize-giving last week.

The competition entries, which are on display at Somerset House, will also tour galleries in England.

And Mr McIntosh is now working on new pieces with the hope of taking part in group shows in London throughout the next few months.

He also has a major solo exhibition at the James Freeman Gallery in March. VIEW ARTICLE

25/9/2014 CASS ART National Open Art announces 2014 winners
Ready for the drum roll? Last night, the National Open Art Exhibition announced its winners from the 2014 competition.

First place went to Mackie, who won the £10,000 Towry Award for Best Work in 2014, for his two oil-paintings A Summertime Retreat and Autumn Rhythm.

A Scottish born artist, Mackie is a pseudonym for an artist who now lives and works in London. His winning paintings both depict caravans, one opened to reveal a cosy book-lined interior, and the other showing one of Jackson Pollock’s famed drip paintings. Quiet, unassuming and rich in narrative, they are well-deserving winners.

Mark Cass also awarded two Cass Art Prizes, to Thomas Allen for his mixed media Never Never Far Away Away, and Jean-Luc Almond for his Dripping Manpainting. Both were awarded The Big Art Prize – Allen won a year’s supply of art materials from Cass Art, and Almond won a commission for Cass Art and a day shadowing a professional artist.

Another 28 prizes were awarded by the competition this year, including The Ward Thomas Award for an Emerging Fine Artist to Rogan Brown, for his intricate hand-cut paper piece, and The Naylor Award to Gina Soden for her photograph of an Italian Villa.

Ronnie Wood is the patron of The National Open Art Competition, and the YBA Gavin Turk is their Vice President, though he prefers the label “Artist at large.”

We caught up with Gavin to find out what he thought about this year’s show.

What do you think of this year’s exhibition?

I really like it! I think it’s great to see it in this environment, and it’s still doing that job of representing lots of different kinds of artists – from young to old, all working in really different ways. The main difficulty with this exhibition is that it has so many entries, the selection process is so tough. And because the first selection is made from slides, I think the photographic work is often championed.

Do you have any favourites this year?

I’m mesmerised by the white paper one by Rogan Brown. It’s kind of bacterial, when you see it close up. It’s so technical but the technique doesn’t overbear it, it’s still an odd, strange thing. It’s beautifully made but still a bizarre piece of art! And the Sigmund Freud made out of wire by Jane McAdam Freud is pretty cool, so I’m liking the sculptural works this year.

How did you get involved with NOA?

I was on the panel a few years ago, but now I have this ‘artist at large’ status and I’m still involved! I think NOA has a really important place in the art calendar.

What’s going on in your own practice at the moment?

This Is Not A Book About Gavin Turk is finished – it’s 30 small essays by a varied selection of artists, lawyers, actors, pscyhoanalyists, a chef…it was quite an editing process! But I they were the ones that fitted well together.

The Exhibition

The National Open Art Competition has been running for 18 years now, and this year the winning works are exhibited in London’s Somerset House, before touring to the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.

Two Visitor’s Choice Awards will be awarded to the works that receive the most votes from the public at both exhibitions.

Cass Art has sponsored the three Artists in Residence with art materials: Freya Pocklington, Chloe Leaper and Rosie Emerson. You can see them making work live in the exhibition and giving artist walkarounds.

The exhibition will be showing at Somerset House until 25th October.

Feeling inspired?

Read our interviews with the Artists in Residence: Freya Pocklington, Chloe Leaper and Rosie Emerson.

We also interviewed the winner Thomas Allen about his dream-like paintings here on the blog.

The Artists’ Preview of the exhibition is to be hosted by Anthony Gormley and Gavin Turk on Friday 26th September at Somerset House, with free Cass Art Prussian Green tote bags.

Keep an eye on the NOA website and enter for next year’s competition. VIEW ARTICLE

9/9/2014 TAIL OF WOOD Miniare Bo.Lee Gallery
A pop-up show at The Crate, 3 Dunworth Mews Notting Hill, London W11 1LE

bo.lee projects presents Miniare, new work by gallery and guest artists who take influence from illuminated manuscripts, gifted miniature portraits and the imagined world beneath our feet.

Miniare includes new commissioned works by gallery artists and introduces guest artists Nancy Fouts and Mackie, recent winner of the 2014 National Open Competition. Other artists exhibiting include Sarah Ball, Tessa Farmer, Patrick Haines, Paul Hazelton, Mackie, Bobbie Russon and Sue Williams A Court.

‘The Crate’ is a ten by eight miniature gallery off Portobello Road in the heart of Notting Hill. VIEW ARTICLE

1/8/2014 SIMMONS CONTEMPORARY Who Invented the Hole, part 1 (Henry Moore) - Chris Lewis
Overview

Who invented the hole part 1: Henry Moore is based on an alleged argument between Moore (1898 – 1986) and Barbara Hepworth (1903 – 1975) over who invented the ‘hole’ in sculpture. In Mackie’s painting, the sculpture inside the house is Moore’s Oval with Points (1968 – 1970). It is an interesting use of this particular sculpture to show his point as it looks like two separate holes, delicately joined but still very separate, as indeed Moore and Hepworth allegedly were in their opinions of who invented the hole. This is the first of a group of paintings depicting the artist’s tribute to the argument. Mackie intends to continue this theme in the rest of the series: the next will feature a sculpture by Hepworth.

This painting is part of Mackie’s ‘Abandoned Dollhouse’ series, where the centre piece of the composition is an architectural structure (either a building or a caravan) which has had a section removed so the viewer can see inside, in the same way a child’s dollhouse would be visible. In this series the artist shows quite clearly different seasons. This picture is showing autumn/winter. As a final play on words, it is worth noting that being part of the ‘Abandoned Dollhouse’ series, there has to be a ‘hole’ for the viewer to be able to see the sculpture.

About the artist

Andrew McIntosh (Mackie) was born in the Highlands of Scotland in 1979. He was educated in illustration and design at Edinburgh’s Telford College 1997-99. His early career was as a landscape painter. He has a studio in Wimbledon, London where he now works. One of the goals of Mackie’s work is to promote expansive thought and to offer questions, but not necessarily the answers. He says, ‘I spend a long time balancing a painting to make it attractive enough to intrigue the viewer. My hope is that they may investigate the painting, noticing the subtleties. Maybe leave with a few questions.’ About his work

The more I look at this painting, the more I like it. The first thing that struck me was the early morning mist and low cloud; it looks so real that I could almost feel the dampness on my face, and having been brought up in the Peak District National park, this is a weather pattern that I am very familiar with.

At first glance the picture looks like a well executed landscape, until you notice the building and the sculpture within. That is when the questions start – what is a sculpture doing in the picture? Why is it in a barn? Is it just a random sculpture or does it have relevance?

After the initial feeling of familiarity I gained from the beautifully depicted weather pattern, and the sense of security that here was an element of the picture that I knew, I was drawn to the colourful interior walls of the building, providing a surreal contrast to the grey weather outside. This naturally draws the eye then to the sculpture, and I like the way the artist has treated its surface texture. It is a grey day, but reflective areas create the unmistakable sense of gently polished bronze.

I like that the building is slightly run down and this is carried on around the building by things lying on their side and upturned fence posts, the kind of vista you would see if you travelled in the country.

If Mackie’s treatment of this art historical spat piques your interest, you can visit the Body & Void: Echoes of Moore in Contemporary Art exhibition currently running at the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire until 26 October 2014, and look out for the major Barbara Hepworth retrospective opening at Tate Britain next year. VIEW ARTICLE

20/7/2014 BROGUES IN A COFFEE BAR Abandoned Dollshouses
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19/7/2014 ROOMS MAGAZINE The Coming of the Other
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10/7/2014 ART CIRCUS REVIEW

Mackie’s ‘The Sorting Station’ selected for John Moores Prize’]Mackie’s ‘The Sorting Station’ has been selected for the 2014 John Moores Painting Prize. Mackie took some time out from painting to tell us about the piece.

‘My thought process was unusual here. I spent about a month painting the building exterior. The entire time thinking through the options. Obsessing about different options. Looking at art, reading about it. When I was ready to paint the interior I trusted the subconscious mind, to an extent. And with no drawing, painted in bright pink, the Koon’s dog!’

‘I’m not yet positive of it’s reasoning. The initials of its title “sorting station” are SS linking with the degenerative art of the nazis. It feels like it could be a place of harsh judgement. When the dog was in place I considered my sanity for a while. Decided I needed something black and white but apocalyptic behind it. For aesthetic impact. I looked into Guernica but it was too big (3 meters high). It Irked me as it was perfect, but I like keeping a fairly accurate scale when I add famous works to my scenes. I think it’s an image where I got lucky. I guess there are plenty of ways to read into it.’ VIEW ARTICLE

5/3/2014 ABOUT ART & DESIGN Abandoned Dollhouses, Mackie - Silvina De Vita

What I love about Scottish artist Mackie‘s artwork is the combination of humour and irony with an incredibly fine, well painted, almost perfect technique. His new works called “Abandoned Dollhouses” are colourful images and, if you look at them closely, you see mega images of well known pieces of art as part of the “doll house”. Some of these houses look on the outside like they came out of a Hitchcock movie but are amazingly playful on the inside. Always amusing the viewer, he achieves perfectly the engagement with the spectator, surprising us almost every time.

In his statement he says: “As the story goes, Paul McCartney woke up with the song “Yesterday” buzzing about his head. He seemed to have written it entirely during his sleep. On the presumption that he had heard it before he sang it to the rest of the band, who informed him it wasn’t an old song. It was a bloody good new one.

I had a similar experience in that my subconscious helped me with my idea.

Having worked on this idea for five months, it still appeared to be going nowhere. I was stuck on using chiaroscuro toys and iconic horror buildings, like the hotel from “The Shining”, but I couldn’t finalise the idea. Realising that I had become too enamoured by their presence I scrapped the concept. A few days later I woke up, suddenly clear that rather than abandoning the concept, I should in fact abandon the toys and and the horror film locations, leaving an unusually empty, anonymous architecture. A great place to begin.” VIEW ARTICLE

21/10/2013 COMPLEX 10 Artists to watch from the Other Art Fair - Cedar Pasori

The Other Art Fair in London takes a unique approach to presenting work. Instead of a gallery showing works from multiple artists, the fair gives unrepresented artists a chance to show their own work in their own booths. Neons, 3D printing, painting, photography, and mixed media works were present at this year’s fair, and all of the highest caliber, giving buyers an opportunity to genuinely experience the work of emerging artists.

Around the time of art fairs like Frieze London, collectors, gallerists, and art enthusiasts are out talking about wanting to find “the next big thing.” While that talent may exist at the main fair, it undoubtedly, and perhaps more likely, exists at places like The Other Art Fair.

VisitBritain and British Airways made it possible for us to cover as much as we could during Frieze Week, and since The Other Art Fair was being held in the same space as Moniker Art Fair, it was a must-see.

Check out these 10 Artists to Watch From The Other Art Fair 2013. Chances are, even if it’s your first time seeing these names, it won’t be your last.

James Thurgood

Beautiful Image #11, 2013

“My interest in making art is in creating work that explores our relationship with art itself. My practice is primarily concerned with the image: I make images that explore the building blocks and allow us to question our relationship with them.” —James Thurgood

#codefc

“His influences range from art historical and graffiti references to personal interpretations of historical occurrences, organic and natural imagery, and computer design (his artistic persona #codefc references a hexadecimal colour code in design technologies, as well as being a word –play of his initials and his graffiti name ‘code’).” —The Other Art Fair

Roderick MacLeod

 Griffé, 2013

“Roderick’s practice aims to develop an understanding of consciousness through the use of a broad visual-symbolic language, exploring a range of artistic media. The theoretical backdrop to this investigation is made up of his prior training and practice in science, as well as a deep, life-long interest in the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung.” —The Other Art Fair

FrikkxSwan Offenders, 2013

“Frikkx uses the photographic medium to manipulate, distort, and capture specific moments in time. He uses heightened color, abstraction, and repetition to transform the everyday into alternative realities. His works are both delicate and emotive with a strong constructed aesthetic.” —The Other Art Fair

Anna Savvina

“The pieces are created manually, without any digital tools—the process of combining the scattered parts into whole references a session of psychological treatment. Based on the dreams her friends shared with her, Savvina creates the hectic images, representing the incoherent story lines of the dreams and bright feverish visions.” —The Other Art Fair

Zheni Maslarova Warner

Wines and perfumes and liqueurs Making the brain, the heart, dilerious , 2013

“I have always likened my paintings to music, which also has no referent, one French critic describing them as having ‘the colors of Rubens and the rhythms of Bartok,’ suggesting the fluid and restrained irregular rhythms that we find in the symbolist poets. Mallarme saw the same relationship between poetry and music, drawing attention to the ‘rhythms between the relations.’ ‘It is the same as an orchestra,’ he says, ‘only literary and silent.’ Like the poetry of Baudelaire and Mallarme, my painting aims to ‘set up a strong framework of oppositions, reflections and analogies that help to impose an order—or many orders….appears to promise a conclusion but in fact points back into what seems infinite possibility.'” —Zheni Maslarova Warner

Fleur Deakin

Junk DNA, 2013

“Recent work from Deakin has been mixed media, looking at the city landscape, architecture, and urban detritus. Textural scratching exposes and abstracts each incarnation of the image, and the present edit is seen within the lineage of what once was.” —The Other Art Fair

Francisco Nicolas

Over Sky, 2012

“A concept very frequently used in my latest workis the idea of showing the picturewindow. I use figurative elements, particularly the landscape. Above those figurative elements, I superimpose ‘abstracts’ geometric shapes; sometimes it is seen in the landscape and simultaneosly in another spacial plane in front of the landscape, It’s as if it was in an inner space, and through a window, we can see the outer space. It’s very close to Magritte’s ‘windows-pictures.'” —Francisco Nicolás

Alberto Fusco

Mercurio, 2013

“By combining unusual materials with a strong sense of color and attention to the shape, my works reflect the volatility and power of human emotions.

By taking inspiration from an interest in the complexity of the human relationships and the vast array of emotions that accompany them, my mixed media sculptures are a means of articulating these feeling in a very physical way, resulting in an immediate and powerful impact on the spectators.” —Alberto Fusco

Mackie

Abandoned Dollhouse 6: Sorting Station, 2013

“Born in the Highlands of Scotland, I recall drawing from an early age; obsessively drawing and re-drawing pictures, trying to achieve perfect scale and efficient ways of devising images.

Through this compulsive process, and drawing on my education in illustration and design, I developed a practice which draws upon classical Flemish painting techniques, devising increasingly complex and imaginative scenes.” —Mackie VIEW ARTICLE

 

 

 

Meet the team