In 2000, while pursuing a visual art degree, I wandered into a Melissa Meyer exhibition in Chelsea, NYC and was so captivated and moved by her work, I knew at that moment abstract painting was something I wanted to explore.  For two years, as a single working mom on a tight budget, I immersed myself in abstraction, creating large scale gestural works in oil paint.  I was building my own stretchers and stretching canvases out of drop cloth that I had purchased from Home Depot..and after my kiddo was tucked in for the night, I would lose myself in the most liberating creative process I'd ever experienced.  Ideas would swoop into my mind daily and I would scramble for my sketchbook to capture them before they were gone.  On one occasion, I impulsively turned my living room into a studio. Working with charcoal and acrylic, I created my first series of approximately twenty works on paper that I taped all over my living room wall wondering where I would go from there. These were the works that sparked my love of mark-making and line work.  I had unlocked a chamber within me that I didn't know existed up until that point and painting was becoming as natural to me as the air I breathed.  I painted in between every space of motherhood that I could..until I couldn't. A new husband, two more children and a series of tumultuous junctures later, it wasn't until the fall of 2014, when my youngest son began kindergarten, that I vigorously plunged back into painting after nearly twelve years of dormancy. Since then, making art has become my spiritual practice. These intuitive works delve into the many facets of the self, the divine within us and the interconnectedness we all share.

A teenage girl nervously sits at her desk. She feels small and stupid. ​A revelatory studio session jolted me back to memories of my days as an anxious high school student when learning became increasingly arduous for me. I would retreat to the margins of my paper daily and pack them with rhythmic lines and patterns. In retrospect, I believe it was my coping mechanism to help alleviate the state of my severe stress and anxiety. This recollection led to further exploration of new work involving these comforting methods that I relied on as a teenager and it dawned on me that I was revisiting an entity that consequently contributed to my lifelong feeling of intellectual inferiority. This paradigm shift in my work has seemingly altered how I approach painting. The morphing of the process from that which previously consisted of spontaneity and color, to the integration and intentionality of new mediums, repetitive lines, shapes and directional patterns has pushed me off the precipice of comfort. How I employ line-work in this new work is a direct correlation to youthful days of self-deprecation and self-preservation.

Painting is my voice, my language. It is the truest version of myself that I can only describe in words as a sacred communion of emotional, spiritual and physical presence, serving as a bridge that connects me at a greater level of consciousness with myself and the world around me. On a larger scope, these works question the longevity of labels (self-appointed or other), the personal and collective experiences that lead to these false narratives, the value we place on them, how much we personally contribute to them as well as the impact they have on our lives. Appropriately titled “Margins”, this series of paintings cast emphasis on the stigma and global issues of marginalization, particularly those associated with mental health, but on a more personal level, serve as a reminder that perceived classifications of failure can be unlearned revealing that truth, courage and vulnerability have the power to recreate the story.

©Christina Sorace MacKinnon 2020.      

Contemporary Artist