new-york

Lucy Mackenzie, Modern Art, 2010, oil on board, 3 1/2 × 5 1/4".

Lucy Mackenzie

Nancy Hoffman Gallery

Lucy Mackenzie, Modern Art, 2010, oil on board, 3 1/2 × 5 1/4".

Not only does Lucy Mackenzie’s work fall into an age-old genre, the still life, but it is old-style in being resolutely and exactingly realistic, sometimes to the point of trompe l’oeil. These paintings and drawings are small—most of those in this show had dimensions roughly in the three-to-seven-inch range, with the unusual largest scraping up to a bit over ten—and the paintings were made not on canvas but on board, giving them a subtle solidity. Small, subtly solid, and treated with clear and precise color by an extremely careful hand: These are jewel-like little objects, instantly seductive.

Many of Mackenzie’s fascinations are the familiar ones of the classic still-life painters of seventeenth-century Holland and any number of others both earlier and later: the play of light, the use of shadow to define space, the distortions of reflection in water and glass, how to

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