The Yukon Arts Centre would like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate the opening of Jim Robb’s Yukon and Locate: YAC Collection. The large turnout was a great testament to our community’s support and we could not be more grateful. In honour of the exciting showcase, we will be featuring a different artwork each Wednesday on the YAC Blog. What better way to begin than Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice the featured work on Locate exhibition posters, by Landon Mackenzie. This work is a great example of what the YAC permanent collection has to offer in terms of diversity and Canadian art.
Mackenzie was a regular summer resident the Yukon from 1977- 1983, her early work reflects the sum of her northern experience while living in wall tents and exploring areas from Keno City to Beaufort Sea. With the territory as her muse, Mackenzie depicts the harmonious relationship between the theme of local wildlife and motherhood throughout her Cluny series. The series combines her northern inspiration with the name of her first child, Cluny. It was in the Yukon that Mackenzie first learnt she was pregnant and began to confront the notion of becoming a mother.
Amongst bold brushwork, animal motifs are abstracted in a primitive style that compliments the raw colour palette of earthy tones found throughout this piece. The large dark central figure depicts a mother with her crescent back encompassing her feeding young. Cluny II is described as a departure piece that deals with the trauma of labour and new motherhood, using the vocabulary of northern creatures. In addition, Mackenzie chooses to portray solstice through a large golden planetary form that floats amidst a vibrant midnight summer sky that is familiar in the Yukon. The combination of which is very evocative, both in artistry and in magnitude. Cluny II measures 7 x 14 ft. in size, submerging its viewer in Mackenzie’s powerful composition. While the artist had stretched smaller canvases beforehand, in the weeks following the birth of her first child, Mackenzie decided the size was not large enough to adequately express her experiences and thus used a doubled canvas.
Landon Mackenzie is currently based out of British Columbia, where she teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Mackenzie pursued her undergraduate degree at NSCAD (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and masters at Concordia (Montreal, Quebec).
Gallery Intern Gabriella stands next to Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice the large-scale work of Landon Mackenzie.
Cluny II: An Anniversary of a Yukon Summer Solstice, 1983
Acrylic on canvas