Towers & Spires: Vaucluse Paintings takes a geographic journey down Old South Head Road in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
Kevin McKay is a Sydney-based plein air painter. With an interest in the colonial history and architecture of the Sydney South Head peninsula and surrounding region, McKay’s paintings juxtapose the evidence of contemporary life with the historic beacons and stone structures of the past.
“This series explores Sydney’s South Head peninsula, where a cliffside lighthouse, signal station and sandstone church stand as landmarks in space and time. With histories dating back to the earliest days of colonisation, this site is dedicated to maritime navigation and communication. Semaphore signals would alert the city to new arrivals and warn if a ship was carrying infectious disease on board. The virtuous qualities of beacons and the stoic form of stone structures, assume obvious metaphoric connotations. I am looking to place these in a surrounding residential context, to juxtapose the domestic and contemporary with the historical and heroic, as our homes have become our bastions in recent times. Plein-air studies inform my studio paintings, which are rooted in the particularities of place, but I am always hoping the engagement of light on architectural form within atmospheric space might also allude to the metaphysical.”
— KEVIN MCKAY, 2021