Interview with Lacey Mckinney, by Jennifer Palmer

Published: Vol. II, Issue IV
Date of Interview: May 2nd, 2017

What is your favorite color?

Cadmium red.

How was your experience at the Artist Residency at Fremantle Arts Centre Western Australia, and how did it shape your work?

My Fremantle residency was life changing in a positive way. The way color looks in that area of Western Australia is unlike any other place that I have been. The light is somehow different. Since my studio was located within a public art center with other art studios and gallery spaces, I was able to use my interaction with visitors with specific intention and integrate that into my work. The experience of working with people from all over the world was impactful and supported my contemplation regarding identity and perception. I enjoyed participating in the art community by seeing what other artists in the area were working on.

Do you like to collect anything?

I try to be as minimal as possible with what personal belongings I take on but I do have a small collection of artwork by other artists.

What influences your artistic practice?

Perception and sensation have influenced my painting practice for a long time. More recently, I am thinking about social context of the body from the lens of girlhood. Oppressive forces that have been pervasive yet nuanced have recently surfaced as more overt.

I really enjoy the richness and layers of your colors. What is the role that color plays in your work in relation to the figurative imagery?

The relationship of color with flesh is important to me. I think about a state of being in a visceral way even if my paintings are not mimetic of realistic skin tones.

What is your most important artist tool?

I have one favorite palette knife that I use the most.

What is one item you could not work without in your studio?

I always need a flat wall to hang my surfaces on while I paint. I do not like using easels or the floor.

Could you describe your artistic process?

I start an idea by keeping a written list of concepts. I try to write down fragments of sentences and notations as soon as I have a mental image. They serve as reminders when I go to sketch. I make references for paintings from photographs that are manipulated with digital and traditional methods. Sometimes I use multiple references for one painting.

How has your practice changed over time?

I have become more interested in integrating concepts relating to social justice as my work progresses over time.

What is the message you hope that the audiences will take away from your art?

I do not seek to convey one concise concept to viewers although I am influenced by specific ideas. I have learned that connecting to a painting is an intimate and individualized experience. I seek to create a space that allows the act of seeing to invoke empathy and bodily awareness. How those two merge is of interest to me.

What is your workspace/studio like?

My studio is a medium size room connected to my living space. It feels open to the forest and has a good amount of natural light. It is organized in a way that is efficient for my work process. My two dachshunds, Hannah and Indy, like to nap while I work.

The artist’s workspace.

What project or projects are you currently working on?

The image I have shared titled Obfuscate is an example of what I recently exhibited last. I am starting a new series of work where I make collages from photographs and other print ephemera to use as painting references. I am intrigued by depictions of bodies and how representation can influence social behavior. I am investigating how I might reconstitute these depictions of flesh.

Obfuscate | 70" x 44" | Oil on Canvas | 2016

Who are the contemporary artists making artwork that you keep up with?

Wangechi Mutu, Jenny Saville, Lisa Yuskavage, Kara Walker.

What is your favorite book?

There are quite a few books that I like but one that comes to mind immediately that I have read recently is The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self by Anil Ananthaswamy.