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Was But Still Is

12 July 2019 — 04 August 2019

Tom Mackie mixes together the languages of Absurdism and the Ready Made. He transforms preexisting materials and objects into visual puzzles that relocate our understanding of them.

This relocation of meaning is evident in the ‘Aft photo series’ where we see an identical photograph of the letter ‘R’ on the back of a tile. This depicts a technique used in the building industry where a drawing or phrase is written on the reverse of tiles to aid their order of placement on the wall. Mackie reveals this usually unseen practice and alters it through the mechanics of photography reproducing the same tile, repeating a partial view of a larger image.

A series of painterly beige abstract works hold a secret. Their understated elegance bely their original state. What we look at are actually the undersides of found painting & fabrics: a naive painted landscape and a work likely to be reproduced within a Hong Kong factory assembly line. The canvases have been re-stretched and assembled to create new parallel works. Within these inverted paintings, layers of mark-making history build-up into a visible crust and are housed within the artist’s sculpted wooden frames.

In ‘Was but Still Is’ we are given pieces removed from their origin and invited to see behind what is often overlooked in everyday life.


Tom Mackie