Kate MacKinnon  

Maximum Value

Exhibition Dates  |  June 14 - August 14, 2016 (Goucher College)

Artist Statement  |  Maximum Value

Maximum value in a cycle is the extreme periphery of transition and change. It is the cataclysmic moment just before normalcy returns. As with most work, this series eventually seems autobiographical. I feel the external phenomena start to align with the internal rhythm of my own experience.
This three year project was inspired by solar flares, black holes and the melting polar caps, very different
yet similarly cataclysmic events.
After studying online satellite images of solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and reading about any resulting geomagnetic storms that could bring about the appearance of the auroras, I began this project with the six CME studies. These studies then evolved into a grid of one hundred one­foot square paintings that, through color transition, depict the journey of a CME from the sun to the earth. The grid begins with the fiery imagery of a solar flare and ends in the coolness of the auroras. Contrasting the raw, fiery power of the sun with the cool calm beauty of the auroras is important to the color story I am creating.
A related but separate body of work shares the color palette and imagery of the grid, while exploring the trope of the Four Seasons.
The project concludes with ten studies that explore black hole and ice floe imagery. 

– Kate MacKinnon

About MacKinnon's Process

Amidst the constant stimuli of our times, I seek a moment of quiet in my work. A deep breath that I share with my audience.

I build my paintings out of layers of transparent glaze. This meditative process creates luminous color and a richness of surface that references industrial finishes.

Working horizontally, I apply layers of glaze to achieve the density of color and surface that I desire, allowing each layer to dry between coats. I use a turkey baster to apply additional color and pattern, working with multiple colors, wet into wet on the final coat. The glaze is a very liquid mixture of oil paint and a high gloss painting medium. The shiny surface deepens with the color as each layer is applied. The wrinkles that appear in the work result from the amount of paint used on the final coat and shrinkage during the curing period. The bulges of paint occur when the work is turned vertical and gravity interacts with the still viscous under layers. In Seasons 5: Winter and Summer gravity won, a result I was not seeking but still embrace as part of the process. These experiments with paint application have become the focus of my practise. 

CME Studies 1-6, oil on canvas over panel, 18 x 18 x 3 inches each

See more of Kate's work on her Artist Page.