Just prior to the international lockdown that saw millions working from home, Toronto-based, Canadian artist Kathryn MacNaughton secured a bright new studio with large windows where she created her newest series of works, entitled HEATWAVE. The new pieces reflect both this sensation of exuberance and light, but also seem to suggest a type of restraint: where colours appear through gradients and bars, and ombré colours seem to burst from the picture plane. Created during the summer heatwave, the works evoke the brilliant vermilions of a setting sun or rays of light beaming through MacNaughton’s studio window.
MacNaughton’s work is often about tension – between hard and soft, masculine and feminine, playful and dramatic, but also restraint and freedom. During a residency at PADA Studios in Portugal in the summer of 2019, the artist really began to experiment with the formal properties of her paintings; where restriction gave way to the gestural (and vice versa); the result of this period of play is this series, in which the artist really seems to have reached a new height in her art-making. It seems as though the artist, restricted to the confines of her studio during month-after-month of the pandemic, channeled her dreams, exasperations, and revelations into the painted works. They seem simultaneously joyous, free, but confined, breaking and shifting within their allotted space. Heatwave, the young artist’s second solo show with BEERS, began as a group show, but it became evident early on that the works demanded their own space to function within the gallery space. We can’t wait to launch our fall programme with these spectacular paintings and – hopefully – give our viewers some freedom to dream along with MacNaughton.