Rachel MacFarlane: Fool's Paradise

January 11 - February 3, 2018

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 11, 6 - 8 PM
Artist Talk: Saturday, January 13 at 1:30 PM

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Rachel MacFarlane. The exhibition will open on January 11th and run until February 3rd with an opening reception on Thursday, January 11th. This is MacFarlane’s third solo exhibition at the gallery.

Rachel MacFarlane is known for her idiosyncratic process of constructing small maquettes out of found objects and refuse that act as catalysts for her paintings. Her approach investigates the representation of three-dimensional objects on two-dimensional surfaces, a conundrum that has been at the core of her practice for over a decade. During this time, her maquettes and subsequent paintings have matured. The maquettes are now made from sculpted and cut paper in place of found materials and the canvases are more structured, their palettes refined. The bold and colourful shapes in her paintings echo the playful abstraction found in the works of Henri Matisse and Georgia O’Keefe while her dedication to the genre of still life painting stems from an early admiration for Giorgio Morandi’s ability to render flat and three-dimensional surfaces simultaneously.

MacFarlane’s paintings operate somewhere in between reality and fiction. Her depiction of space utilizes shadows to imply distance between the weaving and overlapping forms while her application of colour and composition is intuitive and fantastical. A recent shift in MacFarlane’s work has been the influence of landscape. In 2016, she completed a residency at Doris McCarthy’s former home on the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto, known as Fool’s Paradise.  This experience in combination with her previous summers spent working as an advisor at the Banff Centre in Alberta propelled MacFarlane to contemplate her relationship with the natural world and the history of landscape painting in Canada.

This exhibition, aptly titled Fool’s Paradise, was created during and immediately following MacFarlane’s Doris McCarthy residency. Her references to mountains, water, plants and rocks are more discernable than ever before, drawing from both McCarthy’s paintings and the rugged surroundings of the Scarborough Bluffs. MacFarlane grew up in rural Ontario and spent much of her childhood exploring the nature that surrounded her. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design and lived in Toronto for 11 years before completing her MFA at Rutgers University in 2016. She has since been based in Brooklyn, New York.

I am now embedded in the urban area of Bushwick, Brooklyn, where my street is lined with auto body shops. The maquettes I build recreate and lament for the labyrinths of forests, and mountain terrains. Being away from Canada allowed me to realize how impactful the landscape is. It is deeply connected to my personal histories but also in the way I think about space in painting. 

– Rachel MacFarlane