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D. Helen Mackie, Tipi Centre II

D. Helen Mackie, Tipi Centre II (1986), woodblock on paper

Pressed: Four Decades of Prints
by D. Helen Mackie, RCA

Nickle Galleries
Calgary AB – Jun 8-Jul 28, 2017

D. Helen Mackie, Travelling North

D. Helen Mackie, Travelling North (1997), woodblock on paper

D. Helen Mackie, Horses and Cows

D. Helen Mackie, Horses and Cows (2001), stencil, linoblock/paper

D. Helen Mackie, Plot For A Garden

D. Helen Mackie, Plot For A Garden (1997), woodblock on paper

Earlier this year, Mackie made a donation to the University of Calgary’s Nickle Galleries – one of every print series she made in a studio career that spans over four decades. A sizable contribution, to be sure, and one that provides the basis for the artist’s current exhibition of etching, intaglio, woodblock, and stencil work.

Although she studied biology and chemistry at Queen’s University in the early 1940s, and physiology later that decade at the University of Toronto, Mackie returned to school in 1969 to do a BFA under the tutelage of John Esler and Noboru Sawai at the University of Calgary. It was there that Mackie was drawn to printmaking, which she says, “opened my eyes to a new world of images and an opportunity to create.”

And create she did, not only as a printmaker but as a maker of charcoal drawings and watercolour paintings. But it is as a printmaker that Mackie distinguished herself: “I have found that the traditional methods of drawing on a plate or cutting into a wood block are most to my liking. In these the contact with idea, hand, and image are very close.”

Mackie, whose energetic prints give every indication she is still at work in her studio, turns 91 this year.

Michael Turner

 Mon, May 29, 2017