Dougal McKenzie brings a series of Modernist influenced paintings and works on paper to the Ashford Gallery at the RHA in January 2006. McKenzie’s work deals with history and narrative, in particular the famous battle at Culloden between the Jacobites and Hanoverians in 1746, as well as more recent developments in post-war Eastern Bloc Europe. The battle of Culloden holds a special interest for the artist – this infamous event still resonates in Northern Ireland, as well as in his native Scotland.
While acknowledging the limitations of painting in interpreting historical facts, McKenzie hopes to open a dialogue between picture and content. Paintings such as Through Manchester and Waiting for Colonel Pole feature kilted soldiers emerging from semi abstract backgrounds that appear like negatives from a photographic image. The colours and effect created are distinctly contemporary with psychedelic purples, yellows and greens employed to dramatic effect. McKenzie uses a mixture of oil bar, charcoal, oil and domestic paint on linen.
Scenes from Old Europe also features new paintings, using old family holiday slides from the USSR and Romania as their source. The paintings keep the subject matter of the work and the style employed entirely separate from one another. This alienation of style from content begins to create a new space for reinterpretations of history to take place.
Dougal McKenzie was born in Edinburgh in 1968. He studied Painting and Drawing at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen (1986-90) and completed the MA Fine Art Course at the University of Ulster at Belfast from 1990-91. He was lecturer in Fine Art at Limerick School of Art and Design from 1996-2003, and at Newry Institute since 2004.
His solo painting exhibitions include the Compass Gallery in Glasgow, the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, the Hunt Museum in Limerick and Context Galleries in Derry.
Most recently a prize winner in the John Moores 23 Exhibition of Contemporary Painting at The Walker in Liverpool, McKenzie has also participated in Perspective 2004 at the Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast. He is currently organising a major group show dealing with history and narrative in contemporary Irish painting at the Ormeau Baths Gallery for 2007. McKenzie works from the Queen Street Studios, Belfast.