BORN 1958, Toronto, Ontario

RESIDES Toronto, Ontario

EDUCATION No formal art education

In 1993 I began using photos as source imagery for my paintings to apply a level of objectivity to an inherently subjective activity. By adhering strictly to the information presented in the photograph, restricting my palette (two reds, two blues, yellow and black), the size of the paintings (5.5 X 8") and drawings (3 X 3") and by using a single brush (an inexpensive #6 gold sable) I further eliminated many subjective decisions from my process.

The rigour of my practice has been an unconscious depersonalisation of sorts, the restrictions I’ve applied, an attempt to eliminate the self. The first time I produced a photorealist painting, I was surprised by the objectivity I felt for the finished work, by the thrilling detachment I had for something created by my own hand. In the ensuing years, this feeling has slowly been replaced by a kind of resignation to the inevitable uniqueness of my own mark making, the process becoming as much a part of me as my gait.

I spent years sporadically roaming city streets with my camera, subconsciously searching for subjects that reflected my core feelings of invisibility. Whether trailers, decrepit neon signs or derelict commercial buildings, each had attained the kind of invisibility within its surroundings that often heralds transformation, either renovation or destruction. I’m interested in the existential question of being: If it’s ‘invisible’ to everyone, does it exist?

This decades long exploration of invisibility has led me to turn the cameras on my own life. In the simplest terms, if I can be photographed, then I exist. I’ve always felt exposed by my work in a way that I wasn't sure translated to the viewer, and this metaphorical nakedness has given way to a literal baring. In my ‘One Day at Rest’ series, the automatically firing camera chooses what to shoot. I paint what I’ve been given. I become a witness to my own life, with undeniable, objective proof of my own existence.

Neil MacCormick

July, 2017


copyright 2017 Neil MacCormick