Landon Mackenzie, Wild Red (2008), oil on linen [Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond BC, Sep 10-Oct 30] Photo: Scott Massey
Landon Mackenzie studied at Nova Scotia College of Art during the 1970s and earned an MFA from Concordia in 1979. In 1981 she won the third Québec Biennale of painting for her critically acclaimed Lost River series of new image paintings. Since the 1980s she has been keenly interested in geographic and conceptual maps, and the ways in which the development of Western Canada has been charted and recorded.
Abstract, semiotic and narrative, her massive paintings conceptual terrains themselves explore the Canadian landscape as physical and emotional territories with layers of geography, voice, history and politics.
Over the past decade, Mackenzies intersecting fields of cities, maps, waterways and transportation systems have evolved into large-format paintings dense with underlying grid lines, neural networks, signals and wiring, scaffolding, ladders and filmstrips. Like that of writer William Gibson, her work speaks to the dynamic, fluid and overlapping layers of human activity in any given place, and explores research on the brain as a new frontier with its attendant MRI and CAT mapping.
Mackenzie began teaching at Emily Carr University in 1986 and is now a full professor. Her work has been collected by the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée dart contemporain de Montréal among many others. She was the recipient of the inaugural Ian Wallace Award for Excellence in Teaching (2009), Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (2003) and numerous Canada Council Grants. Mackenzie has been a visiting artist at 50 universities and has done research sabbaticals in Paris, Berlin and London.