Kathryn MacNaughton: Intervals at BEERS London

Currently on display at BEERS London is Canadian artist Kathryn MacNaughton’s Intervals, her first ever solo exhibition in the UK. MacNaughton’s work is a delightful cocktail of expressionism, abstraction, geometry, and even incorporates her own style of still life in which she flattens the ‘objects’ to face the front of the canvas. She paints using heavily applied acrylic after having worked out each piece digitally, which assists in creating the clean straight lines often seen in her work.

MacNaughton’s paintings show meticulously painted crisp lines and bold, spirited colours that form shapes and patterns that exude a beautifully nostalgic retro feel. Visitors, who are old enough, will experience a sense of association that is incredibly reminiscent of the 1980s and early 1990s palettes. Visitors will also be dazzled and dazed as they marvel at the stunning optical illusions that conjure depth and transparency, created by MacNaughton. Broken lines and swirls dance in a kaleidoscope of colours, that appears to have no particular destination on the canvas but creates a gorgeous, yet erratic, display of hypnotic illusions. Contrasted against the clean-cut lines are more curvaceous, bold lines and swirls, that at the same time overlap and also blend in with the background to create rounded images of the female form or a spirit of bodily movement.

MacNaughton is hugely inspired by the female body, which is apparent in the body of work on display at this exhibition. Although paintings are still, MacNaughton’s work is full of life and movement as the illusions play tricks on the mind and the eyes of the viewer. Imbedded into her work is the strong idea of sexual liberation, which reveals itself in the shape of nude bodies. MacNaughton finds inspiration for her works from vintage Playboy magazines; referencing the posture and body types of the women pictures in her works, as they are more full and sensual than what we might see today.

Some of the paintings, including ‘Poser’ show circles or semi circles that are filled with gradient colours. These circles and half moons appear to relate to the retro feel of MacNaughton’s work in that against the bold or black background they are incredibly similar to the colourful, neon sunset art style heavily seen and used in the 1980s.

The paintings on display at MacNaughton’s Intervals create an enchanting sort of movement from their stationery positions. Whether viewers admire each piece individually or the exhibition as a whole, the works contain life that calls and beckons. The works give viewers the illusions that the paintings themselves are almost pulling away from their canvases, reaching out to them from the walls and they have not choice other than to follow such visual callings for a closer look.


Intervals is on display until 21st July at BEER London.  More information may be found here.