Opening reception: Gallery Night July 13 from7 – 10 p.m.
Closing reception: Gallery Night September 21 from 7 – 10 p.m.
Mary Beth McKenzie uses oil paint on canvas to make portraits, focusing her gaze primarily on self, friends, and immediate family, sometimes including the view through the film of her studio windows onto the gritty warehouse district of New York. McKenzie is her own most convenient and patient model, but the self-portraits often take many months to complete. She explains that she comes back to the work each day a different person and seeks anew to paint the shifting essence of self. Although her work is representational, her focus is primarily on abstraction, composition, line, and form.
The timelessness of these paintings comes from a sense of passing time. There is no trace of photographic capture, but rather a slow accumulation of marks, palpable atmosphere, a mood of slow contemplation. Howard Fast, a novelist and collector of her work remarked that McKenzie “conveys the inner life of her subject in a manner no photographer can match. She has not simply continued the tradition of realist painting; she has explored it and raised it to new heights.”