McKenzie Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of new oil paintings by Chris Gallagher, opening on Friday, September 8 and running through Sunday, October 8, 2023. This will be the artist's seventh solo exhibition with the gallery.

Chris Gallagher brushes parallel, flowing bands of color across the surfaces of his abstract paintings to suggest luminous, otherworldly phenomena extending beyond the edges. Throughout his past work, streams of pigment raced across the picture planes in uninterrupted arcs that hovered like ethereal scrims. In his new paintings, Gallagher intersperses these vibrant ribbons with structure, shadow and illusionistic depth. The resulting images appear to contain both slices of flowing energy and mysterious spaces of unknown scale.

The paintings in Flight were inspired by Gallagher’s airline travel as the pandemic eased. He took photos from his plane seat that captured oblique fragments of the window and the unfamiliar stratospheric light flowing over the cabin surfaces. In his paintings, Gallagher transforms these details using intuitive color selection, with blues, grays and yellows predominating. He particularly concentrates on the intricate lines of the multi-layered window edges. These appear as alternating bands of muted or vivid hues that contract and expand as they pass from edge to edge of the paintings. While sections of the bands can be read as flat abstract elements, a raking light throws shadows across them and also defines irregular, inky spaces from which dimensional forms emerge. Jutting between the shadows are wide, flat shapes with curvilinear edges that narrow to sharp peaks. In some paintings, a glimpse of an atmospheric vista or sliver of sky is visible through a crescent of the illuminated window.

As the viewer’s eye slips along the surface tracks of color in these paintings, it is ultimately drawn back into the depths along edges of structures. Slowly, the solid shape of an armrest or seat back emerges, contextualizing the image as a close-up view. Then perception shifts again and the structures warp into monumental, light-filled architectural forms enveloping the observer. Eventually, the forms flatten again into balanced, glowing swathes. In each case, Gallagher has melded color, velocity and space into paintings that feel simultaneously contained and expansive. From one’s seat at 30,000 feet, the tenuous distinction between the minuscule and the vast is immediately on view.