Mack Sikora

Walled Off

<em>It's Okay, I've Compartmentalized U</em>, acrylic and Flashe on 6 individual panels, 50 x 75 in. (23 x 23 in. each), 2019
It's Okay, I've Compartmentalized U, acrylic and Flashe on 6 individual panels, 50 x 75 in. (23 x 23 in. each), 2019

Mack Sikora explores emotional boundaries by painting fences, borders, and portals—obstacles that, by design, prevent viewers from fully immersing themselves in the work. In these crisp and exacting abstractions, latticed fences block the viewer from entering the paintings’ space. “Over the past few years I have been interested in walls and barriers,” she says, “both physical and emotional, and the idea of defense mechanisms.” But in a painting titled I told my grandmother about you, Sikora allows us to enter into the heart of the scene. “By removing any major barrier and providing a human-sized opening for a viewer to visually enter through, I allow my audience to enter into a space that had previously been private and denied to them,” she says.

Each of Sikora’s works begins with a detailed digital sketch, the most time-consuming part of her process. She then applies fast-drying Flashe and acrylic paints to a canvas, paying careful attention to the placement of each color, like a paint-by-the-numbers, she says. Sometimes, it takes her only a few hours to complete a painting. “It’s a bit ironic that the part of my practice that I enjoy the most, the actual application of paint and the removal of the last few pieces of tape, is the part that takes me the least amount of time,” she says. “I’m sure there’s a lot to unpack there, but I’ll save that beast for another day.”

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Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


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