Catherine Mackey

cathmackey's picture
1890 Bryant Street Studios
1890 Bryant Street Room #204
San Francisco, CA 94110

I paint to explore and convey the unexpected moments of beauty I find in urban streets and industrial buildings. My background in interior architecture informs my focus on buildings and spaces. I explore the architecture of manufacture and distribution which can be found at the edges of cities: from warehouses and factories to piers and construction sites. I read the scars of blocked windows; staircases removed; and faded signage, all of which tell the story of a building’s history.
I am particularly moved by some of the spaces I discover when exploring buildings. Whether or not the building is abandoned, these spaces have a feeling of loneliness. There is always something in the space to remind us of the recent presence of people, be it a plastic traffic cone or an open door. But the people are gone - it is quiet.

When looking at my paintings the viewer will notice glimpses of street posters beneath the layers of paint. With this layered process I aim to convey the age, decay, and visual chaos often found in the neighborhoods I explore. Sometimes the posters shout for attention, sometimes they whisper and have to be discovered. This process of discovery re-creates my own experiences when wandering around the city and will hopefully encourage viewers to take a fresh look at their streets and uncover their own unexpected delights.