Soft Skin, Hard Touch
Geoff MacKay was born and raised in Calgary, AB. In 2004, he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in painting from the Alberta College of Art and Design. After graduating, Geoff spent time in Montreal and Mexico further developing his body of work. After his return, he exhibited his work…
Geoff MacKay was born and raised in Calgary, AB. In 2004, he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in painting from the Alberta College of Art and Design. After graduating, Geoff spent time in Montreal and Mexico further developing his body of work. After his return, he exhibited his work in numerous venues and succeeded in becoming a professional artist. Currently, he divides his time between work as a theatrical scenic artist, developing his own portfolio and starting a new family.
For me, art is a way to bring the viewer into a moment in time where life’s movement is captured. The ability to take a blank panel and impose my creative vision upon it, using relatively few tools and materials, is immensely satisfying. When I was first developing as a painter, I had trouble using a full spectrum of tone. To get past this, I began applying dark tar to my canvases and painting over this layer with oil paint.
Tar is an ideal medium. It compliments my vigorous painting style. It provides a sense of movement, an inherent roughness, as well as an appealing foundation colour. Starting with the black canvas allows me to draw the movement and life of the images out. The images I choose reflect intimate moments to which everyone can relate. Life, witnessed through these moments, conveys emotion. This process gives me a unique way to portray movement in dramatic settings.
My images invoke powerful responses as they appeal to the viewer’s sense of connection and belonging. Throughout my work, I strive to portray the uniting theme of community. As a result, ideal subjects for my paintings are those that can represent the interaction that may be seen in a flock of geese, a busy town plaza or bustling cityscape. These motifs portray humanity or nature as a group and do not focus on the individual.
Ultimately, my paintings are suggestions of moments where observers are invited to “fill in” the intimate details of the image on their own. In creating the connection between the image and the viewer, my art strives for an emotional relationship that, once created internally, will draw the viewer back repeatedly over time.
I choose to paint largely with negative space. This supports my goal of focusing on what is happening between the spaces. It is this quality that draws the viewers in and allows their imagination to complete the details intentionally left out, for them to discover. This deliberate connection the viewer provides created the personal details of my paintings that are specific to the viewer. Life, a universal force inside all of us, supports an empathetic response to the moments that can be found in my paintings. Through this response, we may find:
“Our fulfillment is not in our isolated human grandeur, but in our intimacy with the larger earth community, for this is also the larger dimension of our being.” Thomas Berry