I can potentially start and end this BL(og)T entry with just the following line: Annelie McKenzie has won my heart. I don’t intend to throw around the word “love” casually but I think I’m in love with her new paintings at CB1. Her first solo appearance at this Downtown Los Angeles gallery, titled the Enthusiast, is gorgeously delightful. Drawing from seemingly specific European sources (and it is so; read the gallery’s press release if you will), McKenzie’s figures are soft and loose, but prudent nonetheless. They are fluidly molten and teeteringly ambiguous, yet still grounded and very present. These characters are staged within the actual or painted frames that are both large (in relation to the latter) and intimate. Installation view of small works.
The selective prominence of bubblegum pink, grape purple, as well as clover green —coupled with juvenile illustrative and decorative devices of unicorns, rainbows, and rhinestones— is more a tween diary than French Rococo. However, it seems that this is judiciously so by design, and I’m eating it all up. With her masterful textures and devilishly clever manual and laborious enlarging of her mini frames into larger canvases, these paintings are not only fun and jolly but also smart and canny. If you are ready to dive deeper, McKenzie will engage you on a few thought-provoking conversations revolving around art and gender. For now, my new found love of her work keeps me afloat in the shallows, just admiring her paintery enthusiasm. Installation view of large painting.
The Enthusiast is on view through April 11, 2015 at CB1 Gallery. Go.
All images shot by author for editorial purpose only.