NEW YORK, NY.- Bernarducci Gallery
presents One Day at Rest, Neil MacCormacks first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition features a series of small-scale paintings and drawings based on video stills taken from a surveillance camera mounted in the artists own home, which recorded 7,200 images over the course of a single day. The works depict MacCormack and his wife as they go about their daily activities on July 2, 2011: sleeping, showering, eating dinner, having sex, working, and lounging.
The works subvert the traditional notion of surveillance, creating an intimate and seemingly invasive portrait of a life together out of footage that was intentionally captured. The works capture the beauty of an insignificant day in an everyday life, offering an unusual entrée into the life of two people, through portraits that capture the deeply personal and utterly mundane moments that ultimately make up a life.
The work was conceived in response to a set of rigorous rules that MacCormack introduced into his work in the early 1990s. In order to create objectivity in his practice, MacCormack decided to restrict the size of his canvas and his color palette, use only one brush, and limit himself to painting only from a photograph. In an attempt to eliminate himself from his paintings, he discovered that what came through most clearly was nonetheless the elements that were distinctly him. The One Day at Rest series came out of a desire to subvert the idea of eliminating himself from his painting, and to embrace at its very deepest and most literal level, the way that he felt exposed by his work. By turning the camera onto himself, and painting only from footage captured by this third party, MacCormack becomes what he describes as a witness to my own life, with undeniable, objective proof of my own existence.
I spent four and a half years painting and drawing, immersed in the minutiae of that single, largely insignificant day, said MacCormack, while the tumult of the present pressed on. The passing time only serving to underline the fleetingness of our lives.
Taken together the works offer an illusory glimpse of the impossibly slippery nature of time. The 20 works on view both immortalize a single moment, while also speaking to the speed with which time passes, and the duration it takes to create anything of meaning.
Neil MacCormack (b. 1958) lives and works in Toronto. He has had solo exhibitions in New York, British Columbia, Ontario, Oklahoma, Tennesse, and Quebec.