inspired by: catherine mackey

It's been a busy week and I really wish I had blogged about painter Catherine Mackey's artwork a little earlier, because this weekend (Oct. 26-28) is her Open Studios event in San Francisco  in case you live in the area and want to check out some really gorgeous, big mixed media art. I so wish I wasn't 3,500 miles away!

Catherine has become one of my favorite artists over the last year after I saw her pier construction paintings and got to delve into her portfolio, which covers a vast spectrum of mediums (charcoal, oil paint, watercolor, mixed media, pastel) all surrounding her fascination with urban architecture. She writes that her work focuses on "the urban experience" and could be considered "urban archaeology" as she layers wood, paint, wheatpaste posters and found artifacts in her paintings to replicate the accumulation of history upon abandoned urban structures. 

New York, Pier No. 2

New York Rooftop

Pier 26 No. 3

New York Pier 64

On Catherine's blog you can get a peek into her painting process, sometimes from start to finish as she layers material onto wood panels and later connects them to form a full painting. The photos of her working really give you a better sense of the scale of her work, no?

Pier 36

Pier 36

Catherine Mackey at work on "Pier 36" in her San Francisco studio

Catherine Mackey at work on "Pier 36" in her San Francisco studio

Also on her blog Catherine shares photos of cityscapes and urban environments encountered in her travels, most recently through Morocco - which can be seen right away in her new artwork. I love Pink Door and wish I could see it in person.

A door photographed during Catherine's recent  travels in Morocco

A door photographed during Catherine's recent  travels in Morocco

Pink Door - Essaouria

Merida No. 1

As someone who is also fascinated with the unembellished and often overlooked beauty of industrial structures and cityscapes, I just love her celebratory representation of these places in big, bold paintings; as an artist, I appreciate the layers and layers of paint and patchwork construction as she takes the very artifacts of urban environments and pieces them into stunning homages... her work is really a great example of the sum of a piece of work being greater than (but very much determined by)  all of its parts.

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, I hope you'll consider stopping by her Open Studios event at 1890 Bryant Street, Studio 204 in San Francisco (6-9pm tonight, 11am-6pm Saturday and Sunday). There are a ton of other artists there too... click here if you need more enticing, and let me know if you go!