Steven McKenzie

For Who Are We?


Steven McKenzie’s solo show in Timespan’s Gallery presented a series of portraits which appeared, at first, to be photos but which were, in fact, highly detailed paintings.

The work challenged assumptions about photography, portraiture, realism and our vision through, capturing not only a photo-realistic portrait, but also an entirely convincing representation of another media.  The portraits eschewed the desire for flattery, instead assuming a sometimes uncomfortable gritty directness that captured honestly the power of the personality and attitude of the subject.

While most of the works were in black and white some also incorporated colour and text.  In one series the colour masked most of the face, leading us to consider whether the colour relates to the subject or mood, the only clue given in the focus on the eyes. Where text was used it also seemed ambiguous – the works raising questions about the relationships between the subjects rather than giving the ‘easy answers’ of many portraits.


Steven has exhibited widely throughout the UK and recently in Europe and Canada.  He was selected as one of only ten young British visual artists to exhibit at The Creative Industries Party at the V&A in September 2005. He was also selected under the pseudonym of Miss Grove to create an installation for the JICPB Cube Gallery now ONE3.

Steven is an independent curator and formerly of An Tuireann, Portree.  He has recently completed one year as an invited curator for Axis-Open Frequency. Steven is based on Skye, Scotland.  For more information go to –


Steven Mackenzie


Artist Showcase of the Month


My current work explores the theme of ‘sea music’ combining a sense of
place, of light, with abstract musical notation. I grew up in the Outer
Hebrides, and still draw inspiration from this incredible landscape. I am
drawn to exploring a sense of ‘north’, a sense of space and light which is
particular to the Islands on the Atlantic edge.

My paintings are an exploration of these connections – the ‘geography of
the mind’ that poet Kenneth White speaks of. My paintings can feel very
internal in mood, but have topographical or geographical titles.

‘It follows me, that black island without ornament,
Which I am always questioning….
Sea, immortal waters, you are the harmony around us forever.
We exist in your music,
In your blizzard of white gulls…

Wherever I am, you are with me,
My music is the music of your stones,
You are the book which I always study
In sunsets over the Minch,
You are my gaunt theme, my poem which burns in water.’

Iain Crichton Smith

Born 1967 and brought up on the Isle of Harris, Western Isles

1985-1990 Edinburgh University & Edinburgh College of Art
Joint Degree MA (Hons) Fine Art 2:1

1989 Ecole Des Beaux Arts, Tours, France

1990-1991 Edinburgh College of Art
Post Graduate Diploma in Painting (Distinction)

mod song

Mod Song by Mary Morrison