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Julian McKinnon’s ‘Art Deco’ hybrids

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Julian McKinnon, Apogee, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint, 800 x 600 mm Julian McKinnon, Collider, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint, 800 x 600 mm Julian McKinnon, Geode III, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint,  400 x 300 mm Julian McKinnon, Geode IV, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint,  400 x 300 mm Julian McKinnon, Perigee, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint, 800 x 600 mm Julian McKinnon, Sea of Serenity, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint,  400 x 300 mm Julian McKinnon, Ophir, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint,  600 x 600 mm Julian McKinnon, Candor, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint,  600 x 600 mm Julian McKinnon, Nadir, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint, 800 x 600 mm Julian McKinnon, Zenith, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint, 800 x 600 mm Julian McKinnon, Ecliptic, 2020, aluminium, resin, acrylic paint, 1200 x 600 mm

Varied in size, and with an Art Deco feel, they lock together flat diamond, square and hexagonal shapes with twinkling transparent borders that hint of Tiffany glass. You are intrigued by the edges of some of the pastel shapes on the aluminium, the borders of the flat planes. And the occasional unintegrated use of a raucously loud pink. Or where sometimes the colour placement almost seems random.

Auckland

 

Julian McKinnon
Elysium Mons


16 January - 6 February 2021

Featuring lopsided pale angular shapes, sparkling resin ‘leadlights’, and cut-into aluminium surfaces, Julian McKinnon presents an Elam PhD show of decorative paintings that combine compositional daring with popular techniques of visual seduction, suggesting ornate jewellery or at times, kaleidoscopes.

Varied in size, and with an Art Deco feel, they blend together flat diamond, square and hexagonal shapes with twinkling transparent borders that hint of Tiffany glass. You are also intrigued by the edges of some of the pastel shapes on the aluminium, the borders of the flat planes. And the occasional unintegrated use of a raucously loud pink. Or where sometimes the colour placement almost seems random.

Using computer algorithms McKinnon has—within the bands of thick resin—created dense parallel tracks, tiny overlapping circles and flying clouds of specks that catch the light. You don’t notice this complex profusion of detail at first, especially if it is in shadow. These intricately detailed stream-like textured ribbons are reminiscent of Jess Johnson works, but with no allusions to carnival posters or comics.

A few of McKinnon‘s works also have wider geometrically shaped, ‘windswept’ pools of resin that are very different from the usual thin bordering bands, and more like lakes of stippled bathroom glass that revel in their tactility. The transparency and verticality within a rectangular format accentuates their domestic function as decorative ‘wall screens’.

As unconventional paintings, the grey aluminium rectangles and squares have an unusual contemplative (mandalalike) ambience due to their strange technical combinations and odd asymmetries. As stunted kaleidoscopes they are calculatedly eccentric; like peculiar heraldic shields. Indeed, some of these ornamental paintings are like geometric rebuses or inexplicably weird logos discovered in some ancient underground corporate office: maybe neolithic glyphs found in a space capsule.

Intriguingly, even though computers have been used in the production of these innovative works they are not industrial in mood, but hand crafted. Brush marks and patches of underpainting are clearly visible. Despite their aluminium support and troughs of glittering resin, McKinnon‘s fascinatingly strange paintings do not revel in being machine made, but discreetly celebrate matte finish, muted colour, shimmering borders and an understated manuality.

John Hurrell

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