A Lifetime of Creativity
Sandra Yuen MacKay's focus is acrylic painting and writing. Illuminated by fresh colours, her paintings are inspiring. She lives and works in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She became interested in art at a young age influenced by her father who was an architect. She attended Emily Carr College of Art and Design, and received a Fine Arts Diploma from Langara College and Bachelor of Arts in art history from the University of British Columbia.
Sandra is the author of a memoir My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness, a hilarious novel Chop Shtick, and a collection of novellas From New York to Vancouver: Stories on the Fly with New York writer, James D. Young.
She was the recipient of the Courage to Come Back Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She is an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. Her artwork is in the VGH/UBC Hospital Foundation collection and private collections in North America.
Sandra's artwork has been exhibited at the Federation Gallery, Art in the Garden, Fragrant Wood Gallery, Silk Purse, Port Moody Arts Centre, CityScape Community Art Space (North Vancouver Community Arts Council), Place Des Arts (Coquitlam), Eastside Culture Crawl, Federal Courts, Sheraton Wall Centre, Havana Gallery, University Women's Club of Vancouver (Hycroft), Vancouver Outsider Arts Festival, Gallery Gachet, Vancouver General Hospital, The Gathering Place, the Jewish Community Centre, and other venues.
In her floral series, Sandra is influenced by Georgia O'Keeffe, Claude Monet and many others. She states, "Painting is a way of life, opening my mind to possibilities and sharing my personal vision of optimism and hope."
My art practice has always been a way to communicate emotion, perceptions and ideas stemming from imagination, moods, and hypersensitivity to the world around me. In the past, my process tended to be cyclical, fuelling a diverse, complex, multifaceted approach to genre and subject matter.
Currently I am working on a floral series which borders on abstraction. I am attracted to the organic forms and beautiful colours which make interesting compositions. I like to depict the imperfect, the subtle variations of tone, and the cycle of life of the blooms.
Also over the last few years, I also created a City Life series about anonymity and the isolation of living with stigma. It's paradoxical to be surrounded by people, but alone in the world. People, buildings and the environment of the surrounding rugged landscape and clear skies encapsulate daily living with a sombreness and stillness that is so Canadian. Some pieces incorporate mixed media, introducing text as a conduit to interpret meaning. Some of the later paintings are scenes of people in leisure activities, reminiscent of social milieus of contemporary culture much like paintings of Renoir and Manet in the late 19th century.
I also began The Raw Edge, an abstract group of artworks based on dreams, memory and emotions. Parts are polished; corners are left unfinished. These works are influenced by Abstract Expressionism, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso and others.