Michelle MacKinnon: Pandemic Portraits
Many things changed in March 2020. Seemingly overnight, our rituals, habits and daily routines adapted to combat a dangerous virus. This interruption strained community connections and disrupted productivity. To recover and to heal will take time.
As the first project in the Present Tense exhibition series, Michelle MacKinnon’s Pandemic Portraits are at once a documentation and a healing balm. The series invites viewers to look into the eyes of members of our provincial arts community, each radiating their unique personality and reflecting the artist’s relationship to them. Below each portrait is a simple caption presenting life events selected by the subject – ranging from the mundane to the life-changing. These paintings are MacKinnon’s way of overcoming a feeling of being unproductive or disconnected. Each portrait is a gesture of care for the person painted. They also provide space for each of us to reflect on our own accomplishments and interactions over the last few months.
To learn more about MacKinnon’s practice, click here.
About Present Tense:
Present Tense is a year-long exhibition series highlighting artists from across the province who produced work during the initial phases of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Its intention is multi-layered and aspirational. On one hand, the present is full of tensions as we discover new ways of completing familiar tasks. On the other hand, a present tense anticipates a collectively defined future tense. The ideas and explorations presented in the series suggest possible paths forward. These paths are full of hope, sustainability and connectivity.
About the artist:
Michelle MacKinnon is an artist and educator living and working in Corner Brook, NL. MacKinnon is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in Drawing and Painting at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has participated in residencies and exhibitions nationally and internationally, most recently at Eastern Edge Artist Run Centre, and has an upcoming exhibition at the Grenfell Art Gallery. She graduated with an MFA/BFA from York University, has received grants from ArtsNL and Ontario Arts Council, and is a three-time recipient of grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.
Image credit: Michelle MacKinnon, “...and on June 3 2020, I bought a pair of second-hand roller skates.”, 2020, watercolour on paper, 22 x 14 cm. Courtesy of the artist.