Lucy McKenzie: the master of ‘deceive the eye’ artwork is at Tate Liverpool

The Glasgow-born artist focuses on things that are familiar to the public to bring ‘joy, desire and motivation’.

Expert painter, collaborator and creator of high fashion, the Lucy McKenzie exhibition is on now at Tate Liverpool.

Bringing together over 80 works dating from 1997 to the present, visitors can enjoy large-scale architectural paintings, illusionistic works, as well as fashion and design.

This is the first UK retrospective of the Glasgow-born, Brussels-based artist.

The exhibition highlights themes that have interested the artist throughout her career such as the iconography of international sport, the representation of women, gender politics, music subcultures and post-war muralism.

About artist Lucy McKenzie

Artist Lucy McKenzie
Artist Lucy McKenzie
Artist Lucy McKenzie

A skillful painter, McKenzie is known for her use of the trompe l’oeil technique; paintings that are so convincingly real they literally “deceive the eye”.

Speaking at the retrospective, she told LiverpoolWorld: “I’ve realised now, seeing all this, that it’s really about working with forms that people find familiar; whether that’s dressing up as Miss Marple, or maps of Glasgow,  or t-shirts and sweatshirts.

“They’re familiar and they’re around anyway and I hope that’s a way people can enter and understand what’s underneath”

Working in collaboration

Through her collaborations, she challenges the notion of authorship by pointing to the strength of collective actions.

McKenzie collaborates with other creatives regularly including Scottish designer Beca Lipscombe who she founded Atelier E.B. with, which has operated as a fashion label since 2011.

Street Vitrine III Constellation 2020 produced by Atelier E.B. highlights the artistic skill involved in window dressing.

This is further investigated in works like Rebecca 2019 which questions some people’s perception of ‘window dressing’ as a talent that requires little skill.

The exhibition highlights the themes that have interested McKenzie throughout her practice, including how ideology influences the representation of women, and exploring the frictions between public and private space.

The Tate Liverpool show will include a number of large-scale installations such as Loos House 2013 and the monumental paintings May of Teck, Town/Gown Conflict and Kensington 2246 (all 2010).

When is the exhibition on?

The exhibition is at Tate Liverpool from 20 October 2021 until 13 March 2022.