Virginia MacKenny moved to South Africa when she was thirteen. She is a practicing artist who lectured for twenty years at the Durban Institute of Technology in the Fine Art department teaching Painting, Drawing and Art Theory. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from the University of Natal in 1980 and a Masters in General Studies in 2001 (http://www.michaelis.uct.ac.za/ people/academic).
Her research interests examine the intersection of different visual conventions (illusionism and flatness occupying the same frame), and the conflation of potentially oppositional vocabularies which provide a locus for exploring perception within a worldview that is personal yet contextually aware. Her works investigate nostalgia and sentimentality in the broader societal context, and provide a place to honour memory and reassert tradition/s while questioning generalities (http://www.michaelis.uct.ac.za/ people/academic).
MacKenny describes painting as a ‘journey of getting to know oneself and the world’ as she never really knows what each painting will contain. She begins knowing only a few elements of the painting, and allows the rest to surface as she works. MacKenny feels that this ‘vagueness of thought’ is necessary, as it ‘ensures outcomes that are not predetermined. Released from the straitjacket of expectation or intent, an apparently gratuitous connection between similar looking things may prove unexpectedly fruitful’ (MacKenny 2008: “Artworks in Progress 2008”).
MacKenny’s show, Crossing, opened at David Krut Projects in October 2009. Her catalogue Foam Along the Waterline: Works by Virginia MacKenny is also available at the David Krut Bookstore.