Government Art Collection
Christina Mackie is perhaps best known for her large-scale installations that bring together multitudes of materials in quasiscientific field arrays. By comparison, Brushes, Pots 4 functions almost like a scholar’s rock – a highly poised, symbolic evocationof a greater whole. The power of nature is condensed to domestic scale and brought into the home for philosophical contemplation. Arranged within a shallow wooden tray, the large turquoise rock of chrysoprase, a semi-precious stone, dominates a restrained grouping of objects and gestures. A Japanese calligraphy brush diagonally bisects the tray, its wooden handle subtly whittled away by the artist into gentle facets. The base of the tray is painted in one section, as if the pigment had been taken from the rock itself.
This is the first work by Mackie to enter the Government Art Collection. It was part of Drift Rust, Mackie’s solo installation at Herald Street in 2017, and one of a number of similar objects in the Brushes, Pots series, arranged on the trestle tables that have become a familiar element of the artist’s larger installations. Mackie has referred to her works as ‘emotional landscapes’ and suggests that we should suspend judgement and surrender to the beauty of the colour and the arrangement.
As a series, the Brush, Pots pieces emphasise their materiality and colour in various states – chunks of glass, crystalline chrysoprase and liquid ink. The work has many conceptual links to other works in the Government Art Collection that make literal reference to their own conception and making. Brushes, Pots 4 joins other recent contemporary acquisitions, including a translucent wall sculpture by Alice Channer and a series of small resin
works by Lucy Skaer.
Christina Mackie (b.1956, Oxford, UK) lives and works in London. She studied first in Vancouver and later at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. Mackie was selected for the prestigious Duveen Commission at Tate Britain in 2015, and has had major solo exhibitions at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (2014) and Praxes, Berlin (2015). She was commissioned for Nottingham Castle Museum through the CAS Annual Award in 2013. Her work is in many public collections in the UK and internationally.