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"Near and  Far" by Debbie Mackinnon and Mike Staniford


Wed 3 Jul 2019, 11:00am–6:00pm
Thu 4 Jul 2019, 11:00am–6:00pm
Fri 5 Jul 2019, 11:00am–6:00pm
Sat 6 Jul 2019, 11:00am–6:00pm
Sun 7 Jul 2019, 11:00am–5:00pm

Where: Aro Gallery, 51 William Street, Darlinghurst, New South Wales

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: cp8

Debbie Mackinnon and Mike Staniford will unveil their latest exhibition ‘Near and Far’, showcasing a collection of abstract landscapes inspired by their love of travelling and painting together.

Running from 25 June to 7 July at ‘ARO gallery’ in Darlinghurst, Sydney, the exhibition will present an insight into the couple’s travels of the natural world through a curation of evocative works.

Debbie Mackinnon said, “We paint while walking in landscapes as diverse as the far away Scottish Hebridean islands or the distant fiords in New Zealand’s Southland wilderness, to the remote beaches on Bruny Island and nearby coastal paths of NSW.”

“We spend hours observing the natural world and interrogating landscapes together, creating quick linear or gouache sketches to interrogate what lies beneath the surface of the land.”

The couple, married for 41 years, each create complex, layered horizons using broad brushstrokes to conjure the allusion of the land in the mind of the viewer, instead of replicating a mirror-image of the subject.

“Through experimental mark making, my works explore how hills come forward or recede, how the contours of the land provide an illusion of distance, how the tide ebbs and flows shifting the boundaries of the coastal fringe, and how to respond with colour to the ever-changing light,” said Debbie.

Mike Staniford uses broad, swift movements to bring a sense of spontaneity to his works. The immediacy of his brushstrokes accentuates the shapes that come to form a unique interpretation of the land.

Mike said, “My aim is to find the space where fact and imagination come together. My works acknowledge a certain realism yet at the same time, nudge the sense of abstraction.”

“Near and far represents my desire to experience new places and also those places that are closer to home with my partner Debbie. I create landscapes that allow the viewer to share the journey.”

Back in their shared Sydney studio in St Leonards, the couple work with their field studies to transform their far-off memories into large acrylic or oil paintings that will captivate the viewer close at hand.

Debbie and Mike’s works foster a deep connection to the places they’ve been, the experiences they’ve shared and the memories they’ve made.

“My paintings are full of time. Multiple moments with a shifting fragmented perspective, hinting at something hidden under the surface,” said Debbie.

Debbie and Mike are both widely acclaimed artists, who now are both painting full-time to focus on creating rich depictions of the natural world inspired by their love for immersion in the remote places they visit together.

The duo celebrate the very act of making a journey together and offer a glimpse into the joy of shared experience through an explorative use of line, shape and colour.

“We appreciate the joy of having a companion who is as dedicated as the other and who will offer a blunt critique of the day’s work, or even a tube of paint if the other has forgotten it,” said Mike.

“It’s all part of a truly authentic relationship, and the conversation over a glass of wine at the end of a hard day en plein air is priceless.”

Event Details:
Dates: Tuesday 25 June – Sunday 7 July
Opening night drinks: Wednesday 26 June 6pm – 8pm
Artist talk: Saturday 29 June 2pm – 3pm
Times: Tuesday to Friday 11am – 6pm, Saturday to Sunday 11am – 5pm