Holly Johnson Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of, Michelle Mackey: Afterglow, an exhibition of new paintings exploring cultural memory and visual erosion. An opening reception will be held for the artist on Saturday, April 5th from 6 to 8 p.m. This exhibition marks the artist's first solo show with the Dallas gallery and it continues through May 10.
Michelle Mackey’s paintings explore time and memory through abstracted architectural imagery. She typically explores sites that contain ghosts of a buried/hidden past - a park on the site of the Berlin Wall, an abandoned train-station in Detroit; or as in this current series, a dilapidated Dallas gas station once inhabited by Clyde Barrow’s family. Using photographs and preliminary drawings as inspiration and source material to begin, the finished works are created by mining her memory of these locations. Memory and recollection allow for surprising shifts in the work that reference materials do not. Her shadowy scenes – whether inside or out - include hallways, windows and doors from which a subtle light radiates and her limited palette, employing hues of black, blue and green, enhance the quiet atmosphere. Inhabiting a gap between abstraction and representation, Mackey’s paintings of abandoned spaces are hauntingly evocative and suggestive of encapsulated moments.
Mackey aims for what Walter Benjamin called “profane illumination...When you see, in a photograph or in a hat or in a footprint, the hand of the state, the door, the water and what is down there, you have seen the ghostly matter: the lost beloveds and the force that made them disposable.” (Gordon, Avery F., Ghostly Matters, p. 205)
The artist received an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY (1999) and a B.A. from Furman University, Greenville, SC (1997). She has studied in Cortona, Italy and Taos, NM for extended periods, and has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center. She currently divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and in Dallas, TX. When in New York she works as a scenic painter (painting sets for television shows) and when in Dallas she has taught painting, drawing and foundations at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas.
Throughout the last decade Mackey has had solo exhibitions in Berlin and New York City, as well as group exhibitions including “The Ordinary and the Everyday,” RE gallery + studio, Dallas, TX (2013); “Fresh Tracks,” University of Dallas, Dallas, TX (2013), “5Points West,” Binder Fine Arts, Marfa, TX (2012), and “Afflicted Powers,” Texas Biennial: Free Museum of Dallas, Dallas, TX (2011). Future exhibitions will include Michelle Mackey, Marcelyn McNeil and Lorraine Tady at the East|West Galleries at Texas Woman's University in Denton (October 2014), and a group exhibition at Seton Hall University in New Jersey (June 2014).
Mackey is also an accomplished writer and contributed “337 Singleton Blvd., Dallas, Texas” to The Dallas Pavilion, The Free Museum of Dallas in 2013. She also contributes articles to the online journal, ArtCritical including; “Paint the Town Red: Shepard Fairey takes Dallas” and “Heavy Hitters: The Art of Football, Dallas-Style”.