press release

Metro Pictures Gallery is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition for acclaimed Glasgow-based artist Lucy McKenzie. McKenzie's paintings, drawings, murals, prints, and performances have been featured at numerous museums and galleries throughout Europe and the U.S. She has had solo shows in the ICA Boston's Momentum series for emerging artists (2004), and in the Tate Britain's Art Now exhibition program for new British art (2003). Lucy McKenzie: SMERSH will be on view from September 10–October 8, 2005.

The exhibition will consist of five discrete groups of works on paper, each focusing on different imagery and source material: a group of large-scale charcoal abstractions with the texture of concrete; large acrylics formally inspired by cartoon murals in central Brussels; a selection of commercial illustrations made by the artist over the past year for an Edinburgh newspaper; a series of erotic portraits, and studies of Tintin from life. The imagery in the exhibition is influenced by cartoon illustration (most notably that of the Belgian Hergé, creator of Tintin, and epitome of an outdated 20th Century European identity). McKenzie is particularly interested in how cities and sexuality are dealt with in the genre of comic art; how it filters reality. Together, her works represent the full range of artistic representation from realism to caricature to abstraction, all to explore private desire and public space.

The title of the exhibition, SMERSH, an acronym for counter-intelligence within the Soviet Union's secret police, is a contraction of Smyert Shpionm ('death to spies'). The department was responsible for, among other things, killing deserters from the Red Army, and its formal amalgam symbolizes the artist's intent to create a total through proximity.

Lucy McKenzie was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1977. She received her BA in 1999 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee. In addition to exhibiting her own work, McKenzie has become known for her extensive curatorial and collaborative projects, including record label Decemberism, a group show titled The Best Book About Pessimism I Ever Read at the Kunstverein Braunschweig in 2002, and Nova Popularna, a temporary salon and performance space in Warsaw, Poland, 2003 with Paulina Olowska. McKenzie currently lives and works in Glasgow.


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Lucy McKenzie