Saturday, July 4, 2009

Melanie MacDonald: Home Court Advantage

Melanie MacDonald is an emerging artist with a remarkable facility for capturing light and reflection. Working in acrylic on canvas, she paints highly realistic, somewhat off-kilter, close-up depictions of everyday objects. Paintings in the current series consist of vintage board games, ceramic figurines, and dishes: images from a pre-digital world of domestic kitsch. Two generations removed from Mary Pratt, MacDonald similarly explores the quotidian and seemingly mundane aspects of domesticity as a means of providing a symbolic allusion to the human condition.

MacDonald was included in Carte Blanche 2 (2008), flagging her as one of Canada's best and most promising emerging artists.

Kitsch, by its nature, undercuts the precious and turns the precious inside out as cheap, all too accessible objects. We can supposedly have it all through kitsch, but the desire to have it all is evidence of an inner void that longs for a kinder, simpler world. (Philipp Blom, To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting, 2002)

Artist Statement:

"I regard my contemporary domestic paintings as visual poems marking the brief, curious, moments that punctuate the everyday. I attempt to realize small particulars within a close-up domestic foreground. In this kind of kitchen-sink realism, objects are isolated, set apart, and gathered together' without any deliberate, overriding purpose. My wish is to see and hold small moments caught on the fly, the fleeting shapes of ordinary living as they shed light on what is constant in our human condition. In the tradition of the still life, my paintings arrest time for the sake of contemplating the transient nature of our lives.

As Dennis Lee has observed in his exploration of Al Purdy's poetry, the everyday physical world can at times seem other-wordly, an alternate galaxy that is both utterly present and wholly transparent, a window into some ineffable dimension where [the individual] is at once lost and at home (Dennis Lee, Body Music, 1996). It is this kind of window that I attempt to realize with paint on canvas."

Melanie MacDonald
"Home Court Advantage"
July 3 to August 8, 2009
A.K. Collings Gallery


  1. This art is fantabulous. I actually thought it was photographs before I read the text.
    I am so glad I found your blog (quite by happenstance, as a search for Peggy Mersereau led me to another of your posts).
    I am about to immerse myself in Melanie MacDonald's work ... and may have to post on my blog about it, too!

  2. Hello,

    Its great to find similar work, thought I was the only one to make paintings of boardgames.

    I have also been working on a board game series check it out