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LAB 4.5:Elizabeth Mackenzie Child of Slow Time

January 14, 2005 - January 14, 2005

Vancouver artist Elizabeth Mackenzie is intrigued by the relationship between human face recognition and the genre of portraiture. Mackenzie notes, “Our brains are neurologically organized to recognize patterns in general and faces in particular. Psychologists call the pattern that constitutes the face a ‘preferred pattern. ‘We are predisposed, even at infancy, to try and make sense of it.”

Mackenzie visited Victoria last summer to research portraits in the Art Gallery’s permanent collection. Child of Slow Time is an installation based on the work Baby with Bib, a drawing by an unknown artist of an unknown child. Using this portrait as her source, Mackenzie creates her work on-site: a series of graphite renderings, interspersed with ink wash drawings on rice paper, drawn or placed directly onto the gallery walls.

The subject of representation is emphasized through repetition, accumulation and the ephemeral nature of the materials used, speaking to the instability of representation. Mackenzie?s drawings function, as the original may have done, as a memorial for an unknown child; a representation of inconstancy and loss.

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