Andrew James McKay: Scaring Away a Dream

December 9, 2022 - January 6, 2023

Thierry Goldberg is pleased to present Scaring Away a Dream, an online exhibition of works by Andrew James McKay. The exhibition runs from December 9, 2022 - January 6, 2023.

Scaring Away a Dream highlights life-making moments from a sidelined view. Painting from the peripheries, McKay weaves together multiple mediums drawing both on realistic and illustrative styles. Detecting the markers that point to the whole, McKay infuses his works with a whimsical quality, one founded in nostalgia for moments most recently past.

McKay synthesizes the world around him meticulously, rendering instances of specificity. It is in the glimmer of an eye, individual strands of hair, or the emphasis of a laugh line that McKay begins the process of building his representations. In Neila, 2022, a woman stares forth from a multicolored background. Her sherpa-lined jacket and furry hat are drawn with such fidelity that they can't help but emanate their own materiality. Her big brown eyes are framed by each individual lash leading up to a slight scar on her left eyebrow. McKay revels in these minute details — the moles, birthmarks, and scars, the nuances of difference that bestow evidence of individuality.

McKay's emphasis on intricate attributes not only defines individuality but also marks the flow of time. In Ioana, 2017, and Ioana in Herringbone Jacket, 2016, the same figure is pictured a year apart. Though her appearance seemingly stays the same, there is a distinctive change in her demeanor and facial expressions. A great deal can change in a year including people, places, and relationships. McKay infuses a transformative aspect into his works by charting out these seemingly slow, and at times almost undecipherable aspects of progression.

Interested in surveying the role we play within our environments, McKay utilizes painting as a tool for depicting adaptations within the landscape. Trimmed Hedge at Cambie and W 27th, 2022, displays a quaint house lost among a network of barriers. Sandwiched between a multi-faced topiary hedge and new development, the house itself becomes a dwarfed entity. Taking over the picture plane, the construction shadows the house, its sheer magnitude gently pointing to the issues surrounding gentrification. There is a perilous nature to this work, the looming construction becomes a ticking timebomb of possible eradication and erasure.

Fueled by the desire to observe, experience, and present the world around him, McKay’s works function as an invitation to a shared experience. Memory often trumps the current state of reality lending to an oeuvre of images that are simultaneously fleeting and illusory. Vibrant but reserved, the works as a whole are revealing in their exposure of the vulnerabilities that often lie quietly among the details.

Andrew James McKay (b. 1984, Ottawa, ONT) lives and works in Vancouver, BC. He holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. McKay has had solo exhibitions at Masters Gallery, Calgary, AB; Peter Ohler’s Fine Art, Toronto, ONT; and Ground Floor Art Center, Vancouver, BC. He has participated in group exhibitions at Silvermine Galleries, New Canaan, CT; Hey There Projects, Joshua Tree, CA; Orillia Museum of Art & History, Orillia, ONT; and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angles, CA among others. This is his first exhibition with Thierry Goldberg Gallery. 


The artist would like to thank the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation for their support of this work.

Photography by Rachel Topham Photography

For more information please email or call the gallery at + 1. 212.228.7569 or