Biography

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Mackey’s move from a career in Interior Architecture to a life as a full-time artist coincided with her move from London to the Bay Area in the late nineties. Her creative energies turned away from highly designed and controlled environments toward the exploration of accidental and organic moments found in the urban environment.

Mackey explores the pragmatic architecture of the cities she visits. She looks for inadvertent patterns created by the necessity of manufacture and industry, and she discovers forgotten stories told by layers of construction scars, signage, and abandoned artifacts. In her creative process the playful interaction between collage and paint speaks to these layers of narrative found in the urban environment. Her paintings reveal the city at all levels, from rooftops to sidewalks and from the inner-city to its waterfront edges.

Mackey lives in San Francisco and works from her studio in a converted mayonnaise factory in the Mission District. Her paintings can be found in homes across the US and Europe, and as far afield as Australia and China.


Statement

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As I wander around any city I look for unexpected moments of beauty, often finding them on an architectural scale: the elegant modular tapestries of high-rise buildings; the abstract compositions of rooftops; a line of factory windows; the rhythm of salt-stained posts supporting a pier; or the structural solidity of an old sea wall. This is architecture at its most simple and pragmatic: functional forms; repetition; no unnecessary decoration. But beneath this simplicity lies a rich layer of narrative which enlivens our urban environments: construction scars; old signage; utility symbols; fading posters; and human-scale artifacts, all of which hint at stories about the buildings and the people who have used them. This visual memory of past lives humanizes the urban environment, at the same time reminding us of the constancy of change and a sense of loss which pervades our current urban existence.

In the studio my practice reflects this layered urban story-telling. It starts with found treasure - old posters acquired from city streets around the world. The process of soaking and separating these damaged, dirty posters is a delicate exercise which reveals unexpected juxtapositions of images and words telling stories of people, music events, visiting circuses, and political campaigns in urban neighborhoods far from our own. The poster fragments form the first, unplanned, layer of a painting. Then more of these pre-used narratives are woven in with layers of paint as the piece develops and the final image emerges. Process and subject matter become intertwined. Accidents and unexpected happenings energize the image. The poster-treasure, hinting at past lives and stories of the city, sometimes shouts for attention, becoming the subject itself, and sometimes whispers its interaction with the painted subject, waiting to be discovered.


Resume

Selected solo shows

2019   Reconnaissance Peninsula Museum of Art. Burlingame, CA

2017   Taking Measure (Celebrating the City) Stricoff Fine Art, New York, NY

2015   Quiet Spaces Kelsey Michaels Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA

2013   Patterns in the City Stricoff Fine Art, New York, NY         

2010   Urban Artifacts -The Bicycle 1890 Bryant, San Francisco, CA

2009   Wharves and Warehouses Stricoff Fine Art, New York, NY

2008   Urbanambulations  Hang Art, San Francisco, CA

2006   Visual Survey Hang Art, San Francisco, CA

2004   Recombinant Hang Art, San Francisco, CA

2002   Masterworks Series (In conjunction with SF Jazz) Pan Pacific Hotel, San Francisco

2001   Urban Observations Hang Art, San Francisco

 

Selected group shows

2019 Alphabet Soup Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2018 Legend Cinq Gallery. Dallas, TX

Ex-Materia DZINE. San Francisco, CA

2017 Aggregate Cinq Gallery. Dallas, TX

2016   Urbanscapes Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton, CA

           City Streets Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA

           Select 7 Inclusions Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2015   Over Manhattan Two-person show. Stricoff Fine Art, New York, NY

2014   Art Silicon Valley Stephanie Breitbard Fine Arts, San Mateo, CA

          The Landscape Revealed Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art, Moraga, CA

          City Streets Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2013   Beauty Without Irony Essaouira, Morocco and Antwerp, Belgium.

2012   Waterfront Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA

           New Work Two-person show. Stricoff Fine Art, New York, NY

          Chain Reaction de Saisset Art Museum, Santa Clara University, CA

2011   Three British Painters Stricoff Fine Art, New York, NY

          City Streets Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2010   Tiny Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2008   New Work Stricoff Fine Art, New York, NY

2007   Two-person Show. Stricoff Fine Art, New York, NY

2004   Contemporary Abstracts Alameda Art Center, Alameda, CA

            New Work SFMOMA Artists Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2003   The Art of Negative Spaces CELLspace, San Francisco, CA

 

Publications

Bike Art, Featured artist. Published by Carpe Diem/ Publikat 2012

Acrylic Innovations, Featured artist. Author - Nancy Reyner. Published 2010

Shifting Gears at the de Saisset, Review. Andrew Weaver. Santa Clara University, CA 2012

Art Week, Review of Visual Survey. 2006

Silicon Valley, Featured artist. 2006

 

Galleries

Stricoff Fine Art in Chelsea NYC. www.stricoff.com

Kelsey Michaels Fine Art in Laguna Beach CA. www.kelseymichaelsfineart.com

Simon Breitbard Fine Art in San Francisco. www.sbfinearts.com

CINQ Gallery in Dallas, TX. www.cinqgallery.com

Broadcasts

The Mission in the Art (San Francisco news site) Featured artist. 2013

City Visions (SF TV Arts show) Interview. October 2008 www.youtube.com/cathmackey

Professional Experience

1997 - 99   Interior Architecture. Studio Instructor. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA

1990 - 93   Interior Architecture. Senior Lecturer, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK

1982 - 96   Interior Architecture. Commercial spaces – London/San Francisco

 

Education

1982   BA Honors – Interior Architecture – Manchester University, England