Artist in Focus:
L.A. Macdonald

“MacDonald’s work forms a bridge spanning the void between public images and private lives, celebrity and intimacy.”

The Work

MacDonald doesn’t over concern herself with the formal elements in her work. The experience of working in the print-room has provided a medium and a language that she is comfortable with. The materials and surfaces she uses are made from freely available things found in and around the print room.

L.A. MacDonald’s images are screen prints on found paper including tissue, photographic studio backdrops and used cardboard boxes. They are nostalgic works screen-printed with obvious references to Warhol and the 1960s; the colours are strong and vibrant in contrast to the graininess of the original photographs.

These are images taken from photographs of the mid 20th Century. Churchill’s portrait painted by Sutherland, famously destroyed, a representation that Churchill was so uncomfortable with.

  • The death of Donald Campbell captured in Bluebird’s moment of crashing.
  • John Lennon captured giving an autograph to his killer moments before he killed him.
  • The confident iconic Marilyn Monroe contrasted with her lonely death.

These images are made potent again, despite the familiarity of the originals. Perhaps this is because of the contrast between the simplicity and physical vulnerability of the objects made, and the very strong subjects. The work is often made of intense apocalyptic colour applied to such delicate, thin layers of tissue paper. These large works are hung in the gallery unframed made up of several sheets overlaid in partially transparent layers.

These works seem to evoke real feelings in the viewer, somehow these subjects are given new life, thus linking the viewer with the humanity and tragedy of past real events. MacDonald’s work forms a bridge spanning the void between public images and private lives, celebrity and intimacy.

Credit, and thanks to Amanda Danicic, Senior Lecturer and Programme Director at the University of East London for this contribution.


* Please join us on Friday 3 November, 3pm-6pm for the open day of our upcoming exhibition, Another Crossing, by artists Giovanna Del Sarto and Bern O’Donoghue, which examines the European humanitarian crisis through a combination of photography, installation, and discussion. Light refreshments provided.