Thursday, 29 June 2017

A Dream and an Argument

Dougal McKenzie, A Dream and an Argument, The MAC Belfast, June 30th- October 8th 2017:

'A Dream and an Argument' represents a major new body of work by Edinburgh-born, Belfast based artist Dougal McKenzie. It brings together key elements of McKenzie’s practice: an interest in history and storytelling through images, and an investigation into whether it is possible to represent these as ‘memory’ in painting.

The title of the exhibition is taken from a chapter in Allan Massie’s ‘The Ragged Lion’: a partly fictional, partly factual account of the Scottish historical novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott’s life. Like the book, McKenzie’s work weaves together fact and fiction, melding objective history with subjective narrative.
“Being ‘home’ in Edinburgh last summer, I realised that, having neglected it for so long, a number of things were prompting me to address a directly autobiographical sort of history; some of it personal, some of it more lightly connected. Walking around the city, re-reading Walter Scott’s ‘The Heart of Mid-Lothian’, reflecting on the Porteous Riots that took place on the High Street in 1736, and visiting St. Margaret’s Loch with my father, who recalled it as a boating pond.
Remembering also that he had been part of the 'Rectorial Battles' at Edinburgh University’s Quad (which, I had noticed, was a location for parts of the James Mason film ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’). I captured an image of my young son running around the same Quad, and imagined that he too was moving through history. These narratives and reflections coalesced and consolidated very firmly as subjects for paintings."

For McKenzie, the title of the exhibition aptly describes his personal understanding of painting and also the way in which memory seems to act as we reflect on things: A Dream and an Argument.

link to: The MAC Belfast

'Set for a Painting (Quad)'/ reverse view/ The MAC Belfast, June 2017

Arlene Dahl/ Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1959) dir. Henry Levin

Studio/ February 2017