treatment 2

by Andrew Mackenzie
  • Medium: Etching

Andrew Mackenzie

“Complex networks of artificially lit trees are covered by geometric slashes in toxic bright colour…. Mackenzie debunks the myth of the perfect unspoiled landscape. Flat white bands and geometric lines create a tension between the surface of the painted object and the depth created by diffused layers of thin paint; this broken up approach recalls the Cubist approach to painting space as it is really perceived - not in single point, linear perspective but as a series of constantly shifting viewpoints.” - Rosie Lesso, extract from Evaluation of Space, 2012

“‘Between’ preoccupies him intellectually – because he is interested in the lenses and frames that interpose themselves between us and what we might imagine as to be nature. And ‘between’ preoccupies him formally, because his paintings – arduously produced on birch ply by a series of applications and scourings – often possess a shimmering finish that, like the surface of water, both entices the depth-seeking onwards gaze and returns it unanswered.” - Robert Macfarlane, from Silver Between the Falls catalogue, 2012

I produce paintings, drawings and prints which contain some of the ingredients of conventional landscape painting  - such as trees, cliffs, waterfalls, rivers and bodies of water - but also includes imagery that alludes to the built environment.

In previous work I focused on non-romantic, overlooked sites, such as supermarket carparks, roads, or wastewater treatment works. In more recent work I refer to a romantic art-historical landscape tradition that still influences much of what we think of today as “Scottish Landscape”, spliced with abstracted, geometric modernist line drawings.

In October 2011 I visited three waterfalls in the Scottish Highlands, chosen not only for their dramatic and spectacular aspects, but also for evidence of the relationship between the location and the people who visit and view it.

While affirming their breathtaking and terrifying beauty, I also draw attention to the surrounding cultural constructs – car parks, road access, paths, safety fencing, viewing platforms, and toilet blocks. These usually take the form of sharply contrasting schematic line drawings which appear in the work like abstracted, layered transparent diagrams of modernist structures, shifted slightly, then re-drawn over again.

I try to raise questions about how we relate to our surroundings, and how we construct our view of landscape; literally, culturally and philosophically.


Andrew Mackenzie was born in Banff, north east Scotland, and graduated with an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art in 1993. He lives and works in the Scottish Borders.

His work has been exhibited extensively. His most recent solo exhibition was “Approaching the Verge” with An Talla Solais in Ullapool. Other solo exhibitions include “Silver Between the Falls” with Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London in 2012, “Still Surfacing” with Sarah Myerscough in 2010, “Delicate Ground” with Amber Roome Contemporary Art, part of the 2006 Edinburgh International Festival; “Sunlight on Grey-painted Steel, Watching Water Rise” at The Talbot Rice Gallery Round Room, Edinburgh, 2003, and “New work”, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Leeds, 2002.

Group shows include “Wider Than a Postcard”, Breeze Block Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 2013; “Drawn Away Together” at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, 2013; “A Parliament of Lines”, at RMIT Gallery, Melbourne and The Pier Art Centre, Stromness, 2013; “Evaluation of Space”, Rochester Art Gallery, 2012; “The Secret Confession”, Edinburgh College of Art, 2010; RSA Annual, Edinburgh, 2011 (invited artist); Fleming Collection Summer Show, London, 2011; ”New Commissions from Edinburgh Printmakers” at Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop, 2009; “The Birthday Party”, The Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, 2004;  “Viewpoint”, National Galleries of Scotland, Banff, 2005; “ArtFutures”, The Contemporary Art Society, London, 2003, and “Past Standing” at The Changing Room, Stirling, 2003.

Awards include several Scottish Arts Council awards, a Hope Scott Trust Award and an Arts Trust Scotland Award. He recently completed a major commission for Crown House, a new office building on Kingsway in London.

He has also shown his work in many international art fairs, including fairs in New York, Toronto, London, Chicago and Paris.

Collections include The University of Edinburgh, Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, The Fleming Collection, The Royal Academy, Edinburgh City Art Centre, Bank of Scotland and the Bank of America.