RAIR | 2010-11
Shona MacDonald | Aberdeen Scotland
Shona Macdonald was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and now lives in Western Massachusetts where she is Associate Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Prior to this, she lived and worked in Chicago and Bloomington, IL. She received her MFA in 1996 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BFA in 1992 from Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. Selected solo shows include venues such as the Engine Room, Wellington, New Zealand (2010); Proof Gallery, Boston (2009); Reeves Contemporary, NYC (2008); Den Contemporary, LA (2007); Skestos-Gabriele, Chicago (2005); Galerie Refugium, Berlin, Germany (2002); and Fassbender Gallery, Chicago (1998 and 2000). She has participated in over sixty group shows including galleries and museums in Melbourne, Australia; Glasgow, Scotland; Calgary, Canada; and in the USA in Houston, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Savannah, and Baltimore. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, Art News, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, and in New American Paintings. Shona Macdonald is a 2009 recipient of a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NYC.
Shona Macdonald's paintings and drawings offer an evocative reading of landscape, riddled with manifold implications. Her works present imagery characterized by both its precisely rendered detail and confounding spatial ambiguity. Macdonald's imaginative topographies incorporate an intriguing array of pictorial tactics, as she zeroes in on her surroundings, observing and reworking them deftly. Drawing upon the history of abstracted landscape, a complex range of sources become refined into renderings that lay claim to a highly layered and nuanced, sometimes haunting graphic imagery.
Macdonald's continual cognizance of her own displaced and dispersed identity has increasingly played a role in energizing her work, but it also leaves the artist inhabiting an ever-precarious status, somewhere between cultural settings, traditions and territories. Notably, while often clearly referencing the external world in her practice, she creates new creative mappings which cannot actually direct one anywhere specifically in a real space but instead are likely to move the sympathetic viewer toward various engaging states of contemplation, reverie, and wonderment.
Martin Patrick, Senior Lecturer, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand, 2010