In Alexander McKenzie’s paintings the sun hides below the horizon and a low light illuminates the mysterious landscape. It might be a manicured garden or a hill covered in trees and there will probably be water nearby. Perhaps the sea, a lake, a channel. Perfectly still but brightly reflecting the sky.

One thing’s for sure. You’re going to venture in for a closer look. At first it might look familiar but as you get closer you realise it’s not a place that you’re likely to find on this earth.  You’ll discover things you didn’t notice at first glance; a closed gate with its key lost in the painting, a bridge taking you to another place, a red flag warning you to reconsider.

Those elements are not accidental. They’ve been deliberately placed by the artist who is himself looking for answers where spirituality is key. Even the symbols in his portraiture lend themselves to a metaphoric interpretation.

He’s had twenty five solo shows in Australia and the UK, has been a finalist in the Archibald six times, seven times in the Wynne Prize and is hugely popular. McKenzie’s shows often sell out and his superb mid-career survey show ‘The Adventurous Gardener’ currently at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery in Sydney has been what could be called a blockbuster for a regional gallery, with 2000 people going through the doors on the first weekend.

We recorded this episode in McKenzie’s studio with some of his paintings in progress propped up on milk crates against the walls destined for Martin Browne Contemporary and his November solo show.

To hear the conversation press ‘play’ beneath the feature photo above. Or listen however you get your podcasts.

Scroll down to see a video of McKenzie talking about his survey show ‘The Adventurous Gardener’.

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Show Notes

‘More than many sparrows’, 2018, oil on linen, 197 x 350cm

Initial sketch for ‘More than many sparrows’

‘Matt Corby’, 2014, oil on linen, 197 x 153cm

‘Man moves mountain’, 2014, oil on linen, 229 x 198cm  (Finalist Wynne prize, 2014)

‘In danger of knowledge’, 2017, oil on linen, 137 x 228cm

‘Firestarter’, 2011, oil on linen (finalist Wynne prize 2011)

‘Andrew Upton’, 2010, oil on linen, 198 x 228cm (Archibald finalist 2010)


3 thoughts on “Ep 55: Alexander McKenzie

  1. Rachel Granter

    Lovely gentle man and great artist trained in the classical way.Considered ideation and tribute to the presence of an unseen but known Creator in his works.Wonderful researched and insites brought to fore in interview.The interview was an artful conversation bringing tribute to the artist

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