Excellent… is a progression from a body of work where the canvases are both paintings and their own reviews. In the original series the images ranged from one to five stars in a parody of newspaper art column ratings. When MacKinven first sold these paintings he set the price according to the work’s assigned ‘critical value’, with one star paintings – or complete pans – selling for as low as £50; Excellent… is, in every way, an excellent painting. Executed on unprimed linen, its grid-based composition is measured according to the Financial Times’s layout template (‘worse’ paintings took their scaling from ‘lesser’ newspapers, with one star canvases based on free commuter papers). These lines form the under-painting, which bleeds through the surface with lingering authoritarian presence, as thin veils of white hue, carefully painted ‘within the lines’, humorously evoke the hallowed aura of abstract expressionism.

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