No moon is the product of a strange little year, and it was. Look around. And although my notebooks were full and funny, it took what might be considered as a long time, to feel like painting on canvas was full spring and less like winter.
I was very conscious and purposeful at the time of production that the bag of references were big and wanting, unafraid of blowing some up to proportion while leaving others to a tiny side note. But it was the loop of constancy within my own language which really caught me off guard, reflecting, by chance, by finding a previous paper work last week. Despite a distance of four years apart, right down to the month, this work shared a striking similarity not only in composition but in figurative form to a work hanging here right now.
But the 2022 painting felt different, felt more powerful, more aggressive, more sad, more real, less light with more guts. Daring. And on reflection I can say and stand by that statement for all the works selected for the show.
I’m not unfamiliar with the comment that I frustrate the viewer by not telling the full story in the press release of how to look at the paintings, leaving out the typed bold underlined statement of what are we looking at, and the dangers of how potentially, an approach like this gets completely lost in ‘times like these’. I’ll take that, but I don’t agree. The door is there, it is kicked open.
No moon is Fiona Mackay’s third solo exhibition at Klemm’s, showing eight paintings that are representative of the artist’s creative and thinking process of the past year. These heterogeneous images purposefully disrupt the viewers’ own expectations of painting, contradicting or totally evading any fixed meaning to instead interrogate the ‘fragileness’ of how an image can be held, or understood.
Mackay’s works have a psychological dimension: the comfort of their familiar appearances is soon replaced by the oddity of their perception. These undertakings evolve in the realm of the exhibition, hiding the strange aura of their essence behind the trivial facade of a Painting Show.
It’s not about Painting for Painting’s sake – there is a hint of truth revealing itself, difficult to see, most difficult to grasp, harder to hold onto.
For the exhibition, the artist chose to work mostly with loose pigments held with acrylic medium, binding colours to ideas like sweat sticking sand to naked skin permanently. By doing so, there is an openness to risk which leaves the status of the artworks in a sort of limbo – their looks as unpredictable as their meanings.
No Moon narrates visual tales, whose beginnings lie between personal narration and a system of references or associative terms – words and objects as ‘roots’, raising questions to which answers are not comfortably found.
Unfashionably, the viewer is welcomed to sit down and take the time that’s necessary for meaning to take hold.