I got the chance to sit down and chat with local Melbourne artist, Margaret McIntosh- who currently exhibited at Off the Kerb Gallery in Collingwood.
Her one-month residency inspired McIntosh’s latest installment titled ‘Dear John’ in Canada. Exploring varying concepts of environmental space, separation and familiarity. McIntosh delves into a realm of which she describes as an “invitation and separation of relationships” all inspiring from her time away. McIntosh opens up about loneliness and vulnerability, which also motivated the notions of her series. Throughout the duration of her stay in Canada, McIntosh experienced what it was like to be alone and seclude herself from society and social interaction.
Before the show McIntosh painted a lot about domestic space and symbolism of domestic space, which are still somewhat illustrated in her current paintings. Covering alignments between landscape and familiarity.
On asking McIntosh which painting she was most proud of she indicated towards ‘My Buckets Got A Hole In It’, which is her self-portrait piece – with the fish floating above her head. McIntosh explained the suggestiveness of the self-portrait covers different territories and isn’t restricted to one particular meaning. Leaving it open to audience interpretation. It coincides with two separate stories, highlighting conceptions of sadness and vulnerability with also a twist of humor.
Neighboring McIntosh’s domestic inspiration, Scottish painter Peter Doig has also been an influential encouragement on her art. Doig also taps into the exploration of environmental landscapes and figurative elements of art. Comparing both artists artwork there are close styles of visual similarity. Throughout her paintings it’s apparent that Doig’s a catalyst for McIntosh’s visions.
Her transition into her interest in art engendered from her year ten teacher, McIntosh spoke highly of him and described him as a “second parent” who became a solid mentor for McIntosh and her high involvement and love for arts. Deriving titles of her works from Hank Williams songs coincide perfectly with the atmosphere McIntosh was situated in. Being away from home and in solitude McIntosh declared a lyrical connection within Williams’s songs and described him as this ‘sad – lonely guy’, which swayed influence for the series titles.
Oils have seemed to always be a stagnant safety in her works, or more of an “immovable being” as McIntosh put it. Also working with coloured pencils, oils will always be a prime medium in her works. In this specific series McIntosh experimented with different colours – pinks being one of them. Usually keeping the foundation of her work at a more earthly tone, the involvements of pinks have grafted the change of solace and allowed her to push her tonal boundaries.
Lastly, I asked McIntosh what advice she has for emerging artists,
“Don’t over analyse the verbal part – making art is the most important thing.”
which seems to be the main deterrent in art. Continuously create, and worry about the verbal fundamentals later. For more information about Margaret and her works, you can find her on her instagram @mmcintosh.art. It’s worth a look, kids!