Austin MacRae

I create representational paintings that focus on the poetry in the everyday—a trodden pasture, a crooked tree, or a sunlit power line. I’m particularly interested in the properties of light, both natural and artificial, and often explore scenes where the two are in competition with or compliment each other. My most recent series, tentatively called Shift Change, focuses on liminal scenes where a sunset, say, wanes above the harsh white of parking lot lights. My paintings also focus on the tension between interior and exterior spaces, suggesting a narrative whenever possible. I count the Wyeth clan among my biggest artistic influences and seek to infuse my paintings with a sense of story and character. My technique is rather basic at this point–acrylic paint on (mostly) board. I’ve recently started using painter’s tape to achieve sharp lines that I then enjoy scraping and breaking. I’ve grown fascinated with the ways in which clean and precise lines and edges can be employed alongside spontaneous (or even naïve) marks to achieve a powerful effect.

In terms of my work routine, I am a daily painter. After quitting my office job about a year ago, I, for the first time in my life, have been able to put the arts—both painting and music—in a primary position. Each morning I generally rise and complete a painting sketch; if the weather is nice, the sketch is often done plein air. In the winter I generally use reference photos as inspiration, though I play fast and loose with them. Once I’ve accumulated enough strong sketches, I begin choosing ones that I then work into larger pieces–mostly 16″×20″ at this point, sometimes larger.

After a painting hiatus of over twenty years, I picked up the brush in spring of 2022. The bulk of my artistic accomplishments have been in music (four albums, numerous songwriting awards and honors, Kerrville New Folk Finalist, etc.) and poetry (nationally published and anthologized), so I’ve just begun connecting with local artists, galleries, and other venues for my painting.

Resumé

Gallery Shows, Placements, and Awards

  • State of the Art Gallery, December 2023 Juried Show, 1st Prize
  • Southern Tier Arts Member Show (Feb 2024)
  • Hopshire Brewery Gallery solo show (Spring 2023)
  • Acme Gallery, Canandaigua (sold several pieces in 2023)
  • Sunny Days of Ithaca (have sold several pieces in 2023)
  • Cinch Art Space, Cortland (small pieces)

Commissions

  • Album art for nationally touring singer-songwriter Rupert Wates
  • Portrait of the Rogers House for the Cincinnatus Historical Society (August 2023)
  • A handful of private commissions in 2023

Goals

  • To meet and form social connections with local artists
  • To participate in the planning and carrying out of local arts events
  • To support local artists and learn more about process and technique
  • To improve my technical painting skills (color theory, perspective drawing, plein air painting, etc.)

5 Responses

  1. Austin has an interesting perspective of seeing things and would be a valuable addition to the gallery with his multiple art experiences.

  2. Austin’s subject matter and his way of painting it makes me want to visit the location and feel it. And his goal” To participate in the planning and carrying out of local arts events” is certainly a skill and desire that out gallery can use.

  3. Austin’s sensitivity to color and space are appealing and accomplished. Art that makes me want to experience the location as the artist sees it is important to me. And his second item in Goals: “To participate in the planning and carrying out of local arts events”, is surely something the gallery needs.

  4. Austin’s paintings convey a sense of place, time of day, and mood. His minimalism and gestural style conveys a lot of implied detail and texture. They ask my eye to linger and see more.

  5. Some very interesting compositions here. Austin also entered three pieces in the juried show, and I felt they all showed skill and a quirky sense of subject that I liked a lot. Sounds like an interesting person.

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