Christie Macdonald: The Painter Who Finds Beauty In The Unexpected

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By Yulia Tulegenova, art researcher

Christie Macdonald is a young and talented painter who creates stunning and original works of art that challenge the boundaries between reality and fantasy, nature and culture, life and death. Her solo exhibition in France, Beachcombing, is on display at Hasch, a contemporary art gallery in Marseille, and showcases her latest painting series, Metamorphosis, which is a visual feast of colors, shapes, and symbols.

Macdonald was born in 1994 in Biarritz, a seaside town in the southwest of France, where she developed a strong connection with the ocean and its mysteries. She moved to Los Angeles when she was 10 years old, and spent eight years there, absorbing the vibrant and diverse artistic scene of the city. She returned to France in 2012, and settled in Les Landes, a rural and wooded region near the Atlantic coast, where she has her studio and home.

Macdonald’s paintings are influenced by her travels, her dreams, and her curiosity. She is fascinated by the activity of beachcombing, which consists of roaming the beaches and collecting natural or artificial objects that have been washed ashore by the waves. She sees this activity as a metaphor for her artistic process, which involves finding beauty and meaning in the unexpected and the discarded, and combining them in new and surprising ways.

Her painting series, Metamorphosis, is a result of this process. It consists of 12 large-scale oil paintings, each depicting a glass vase containing a composition of various elements, such as sea stars, coral branches, plant bulbs, feathers, shells, and jewels. The paintings are realistic and detailed, but also surreal and symbolic, creating a contrast and a dialogue between the different realms and dimensions that they represent.

Christie Macdonald, Metamorphosis, No 4, Oil on canvas, 47 x 62 cm, 2023

The paintings explore the themes of transformation, duality, and wholeness, which are central to Macdonald’s artistic vision. She is inspired by the concept of alchemy, the ancient practice of transforming matter and spirit, and by the symbolism of the Marseille Tarot, the oldest and most popular deck of cards used for divination and meditation. She uses the glass vases as containers and catalysts for the metamorphosis of the elements inside them, and as references to the Lovers card, which depicts a man and a woman holding hands, with an angel above them and a tree behind them. The Lovers card represents the union and the balance of the opposites, such as male and female, light and dark, earth and sky, and the harmony and the completeness that result from it.

Macdonald’s paintings are not only beautiful and intriguing, but also profound and meaningful. They invite the viewer to enter a world of wonder and imagination, where nothing is fixed or definite, but everything is possible and connected. They reflect Macdonald’s personal and artistic journey, which is marked by change, discovery, and growth. They also express her hope and optimism for the future, where humans and nature can coexist and enrich each other.

Christie Macdonald is a painter who finds beauty in the unexpected. Her exhibition, Beachcombing, is a testament to her talent and creativity, and a celebration of her passion and vision. It is a must-see for anyone who loves art and who is open to new and exciting experiences.

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