Mackey has recently begun to develop a series of paintings based on his experiences in Europe. His new images show a mysterious woman walking through the ancient streets of European cities. Mackey is basing this imagery on his travels to Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Venice, and Florence. Each paint shows the rusticated and aged walls of these cities that are full of history. The patina of time and european life has etched itself on the brick and stone walls of the buildings and the streets themselves.
The aged beauty of the stone and architecture is contrasted with the woman in the sleek dress. Her long gown flows in the air as she walks down the rainy streets. An umbrella covers her in a soft shadow and protects her from the rain. Mackey has further amplified the contrast by using rich colours on the woman’s dress. The vivid red or bright gold dress is used to create an intense focal point on the image.
Each of these cities brings its own unique character to the work. The also bring their own challenges to the creative process. This is because the have their own unique architectural style. The is increased by the fact that even on a single street, in a city like Rome, there can be buildings that are from different centuries. It is common to see ancient Roman ruins next to a modern building, next to a renaissance stone structure. This can create incredible visual complexity and the results of this contrast of ages can be beautiful.
Mackey has made most the scenes during the evening. This allows him to capture the glow emitted by the streetlights. The glow of the streetlights and the light reflected by the buildings helps to create a sense of joy and festivity. This is the exact experience that is often found around nine or ten o’clock in many of these cities. It is at this time where city dwellers and tourists alike, flock to the many bars, bistros, and cafes for aperativo or Tapas.
In these images, Mackey has also minimized the space taken up by the central figure. This is in contrast to some of his other work, where the figure or figures takes up the majority of the pictorial space. This is to emphasize the mood and environment over the person. This makes the painting less of a portrait of a specific person and more an image that captures the mood and energy of these cities at night.
In one of his pieces “Dripping in Gold”, Mackey also made use of gold iridescent paint. This type of paint contains tiny gold colored reflective particles. The particles reflect the light and give the paint a metallic sheen. Mackey utilizes this iridescent paint to not only create a beautiful color contrast, but also to create a rich, glowing focal point.
The combination of the historical cityscape, the beautiful woman, the black and white monotone background, and the vivid color or metallic sheen of the dress combine to create a striking image.