Landon Mackenzie

About the Artist

Landon Mackenzie was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She took her university training at the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. In 1986, she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia and has taught at the Emily Carr School of Art and Design since that time. In her large  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (  paintings, she explores ideas about the physical and social geography of Canada, Canadian heritage and the Canadian identity.

Robin Laurence writes about Mackenzie’s upbringing,

Although neither of her parents were artists, both were active in the cultural life of Toronto, where Mackenzie grew up. The writers, artists and thinkers who visited the house were, ‘trying to define Canadian national identity, politically and culturally.’ Mackenzie recalls her family had a particular involvement with the Painters 11 - Harold Town was a close friend of her mother’s. - and the artists associated with the Isaacs Gallery. The effect was manifold: cutting edge art was fully integrated into Mackenzie’s upbringing and sensibility; notions of Canadian-ness were actively discussed; marriage, motherhood and social conformity were never seen as ultimate goals. Both parents offered this message Mackenzie says, ‘You can do what you want.’ (Laurence, 1996)

Mackenzie’s great grandmother and grandmother were also painters and as a teenager Mackenzie comments about entering Harold Town’s  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (  studio , “I went into Harold Town’s studio and I just thought, I want this.” (Laurence, 1996) 

Mackenzie began her art career studying printmaking, in particular etching. She would carve into a copper plate and print her design, then she would carve into it again and print again. She would repeat this process indefinitely until she had a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of individual works from one plate. This idea of layering is carried over to her large textural luminously coloured paintings.  While she is interested in place, Mackenzie isn’t concerned with real images of places but more with imaginary ideas related to place. She says, “I hate sketching. I don’t want to work outdoors. I’ve always made landscapes from looking into imaginative space.” (Laurence, 1996) 

Landon Mackenzie has been a practising artist for thirty years. Starting as a student at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1972, Mackenzie has built an impressive  body of workA collection of artwork by a particular artist, either over a lifetime, or as related to one subject, etc.  and is probably best known for her large-format mapping paintings. Her work has been collected by the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal among others. She has received numerous awards and grants and is an active painter and educator within the Canadian art community. In addition to her teaching, Mackenzie maintains studios in Vancouver and Prince Edward Island.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning