Andrew McKay: Summer Stories. Opening October 3, 2020, Online and in Toronto.
It is not my concern to make paintings which operate via a clearly defined narrative. This, because the audience will almost always superimpose its experiences and thus provide its own narrative. Moreover, political divisiveness is sold today as easily as any of the latest consumer novelties and increasingly the idea of a shared or communal narrative seems a fantasy. It is unclear how contemporary images come or will come to function in the face of this. A diversity of interpretations is fruitful and beneficial, but if we remove the underlying and fundamental mutual language which binds us, doesn’t this altogether dissolve the cultural ties that—as imperfect as they are—unite us all together?
In school, I read Luc Tuymans’ critique of Morandi noting the latter’s passivity (collaboration?) in the face of Mussolini’s Italy. If we shrug off Tuymans for his bombast, we can at least admit to ourselves that Morandi’s work makes no real response to the fascism that drummed on around it. Yet strangely we don’t now think any less of his art today, in 2020, even when the ambiguities of perceived ‘non-resistance’ are seen by some as equal to swinging the truncheon.
During the pandemic and political upheavals of this year, I have been spending a lot of time painting in my small room—perhaps not unlike Morandi—and come away with this collection of work which takes as its subject whatever has been most at hand. I have painted the commonplace things and places that compose the content of my recent life. I am for my own part still uncertain if this has been a natural inclination toward this type of material, a feeling against making either banal or opportunistic political art, or some other kind of thing. If we reverse and are instead more sympathetic to Morandi, we can imagine that he knew to pose questions based on what one thinks are his or her motivations is not the way to go about finding tangible answers.
Andrew James McKay, 2020
Andrew James McKay is a painter and printmaker currently working from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, and Vancouver, BC. A graduate of Emily Carr University of Art+Design, he was over the course of his studies the recipient of a number of awards and scholarships, including two grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation (2016 and 2018). As of 2019 also a carrier of the Lieutenant Governor's Medal, presented for his BFA work and for contributions to, "Inclusion, Democracy, and Reconciliation" as defined by the office of the LG. Currently he is preparing for his MFA work, an historical overview and critical appraisal of the portrait genre and its ties to social power structures.