“I’m in constant conversation with things that I see. Sometimes I'm lead by a material, or a phrase, and I try to figure out how to evoke that properly."
Toronto-based conceptual sculptor Mickey Mackenna displays her piece Snag at the Fourth Autumn. Using metaphorical associations in conjunction with industrial materials and found objects, Mackenna’s work interacts with her audience intuitively in both form and concept. The title Snag renders a specific moment, and the amassing of industrial materials, such as hydrocal, welded aluminum bars, draws attention to the materiality of the work.
“The title for me acts as a frame for a painting, it sets the context and helps anchor the piece in the real. I’m really focused on everyday experience, not just on art context. But it depends, the Snag for me is a moment, and is a part of a larger installation depicting all these moments- echoes of a narrative. The title Snag helps keep it in this moment, to when the cloth just got stuck on this 'thing'. It’s a simulation of a happenstance composition that I would find on the street."
Working within minimalist theories and materials, Mackenna's work does not display overt expression or figuration, but rather evokes a visual, textual and physical response.
“For me there is something very calming about minimalist work. I like to have works really paired down because I feel like that’s what our brains need. We need to slow down, think and absorb...Art experiences are a really nice thing, and it’s a nice thing to give to people, and I don’t want to amplify the stresses.”
Along with the conceptual considerations, Mackenna’s technical practice involves the preoccupation with sculptural concerns such as height, weight, gravity, and balance. The problem solving involved in assembling different materials with one another, and discovering how they function as a whole, is an essential part of her process. Snag is both “substantial and airy in form” and sits in the middle of the room- forcing the audience to experience its physical presence.
“There is a huge space of translation in sculpture. It’s huge. So much can happen from point A to point B. It is also so direct in other ways because it operates on the same plane as the body it exists in the same space. It functions in space like we do. So there is something direct and effective about it."
Mackenna is studying Sculpture at OCAD and is finishing her thesis this year. After Mackenna graduates she is going to dedicate herself fully to producing work, continuing to investigate culture, micro-environments and its materials.