Ian Mackay: Shape-Shift


Rabble, 2022, Oil on wood, 24 x 48 inches

Ian Mackay

May 25 – June 11, 2022
Reception in Gallery: June 4, 2022 @ 2-5PM

“If you don’t know what colour to take, take black.” – Pablo Picasso

The Red Head Gallery is pleased to present Shape-Shift an exhibition of new work by artist Ian Mackay.

Shape-Shift is an exhibition of new paintings by Ian Mackay, that emphasize compositional relationships of shape and colour anchored by strong contrasts. For Mackay, each painting becomes a means to discover an invented image that, in the end, has the presence of fact. He transforms improvised marks into pictorial bodies with discernible weight and depth, creating images that conjure both cubist and surrealist forbears. Gestural energetic lines are patiently given the opportunity to solidify as complete ideas that oscillate between illusion and painterly construction.

Many of the works feature a strong design in black, lending additional energy and power to the colour shape layers on top, making for an unmistakable “attention-grabbing” presence. The organization of shapes and lines, while wholly abstract, playfully tug at our recognition of objects or personas, hovering in a perceptual ambiguous tension.

Shape-Shift #3, 2022. Oil on Canvas, 16 x 32 inches.

Shape-Shift is Ian Mackay’s fifth exhibition at The Red Head Gallery and the first since the pandemic. During the last two years Mackay focused on the formal aspects of painting as a kind of refuge, A Canadian artist working in Toronto where he maintains his studio, he completed his AOCA at Ontario College of Art in 1980 with studies in Photo-Electric Arts. At OCA Ian co-founded the punk rock band The Diodes and the musical performance space “The Crash n Burn” at the Centre for Experimental Art and Communications. In 2009 he completed a BFA at OCAD in Curatorial Studies and Integrated Media. Since 2009 Ian has concentrated exclusively on his painting practice and his work can be found in numerous private collections.


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Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 5 PM
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