09 January 2014

Kate MccGwire

I think Kate MccGwire might be so high on my list of favorite contemporary artists that... she might be on top. And there she's among good company. ;) I love her work, and I've been following her for a couple of years now. The first image I ever saw of her work was this one:

Slick, 2010, Mixed media with magpie and crow feathers 
and antique fire basket, 50 x 250 x 250cm

Retch, 2007, Mixed media with pigeon feathers, 200 x 120 x 70cm approx.

Vex, 2008, Mixed media with pigeon feathers
in an antique museum cabinet, 183 x 110 x 83cm

FINE (Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional), 2012, 
Mixed media with crow feathers in antique cabinet, 158 x 155 x 57cm

Shroud, 2013, Mixed media with mallard feathers and quills 
in antique dome, 35 x 35 x 30cm

Call me enthralled. Her work just puts me in a different place. From her large installations to her more recent smaller works, there's something so mysterious about her forms. Using natural materials, mostly feathers, and putting them into antique display cases and glass domes gives them a sort of natural history museum or curiosity cabinet feel. And although the feathers appear soft and the colors understatedly beautiful, the shapes take on a menacing quality, like a coiled-up snake. The quills add a sharpness as if there's something alive and hidden inside those feathers, that if you got too close it would be unleashed. I love the juxtaposition of beauty and gentleness with the uncertainty of a possible threat or sharpness. Her large installations are creepy and beautiful at the same time, where the luxurious iridescent luster of the feathers only momentarily distracts from the way the unknown shape seems to slither out of the fireplace.

Lately her scale has become a bit smaller, but I'm really interested to see how she continues to explore scale and materials as she moves forward.

All images via katemccgwire.com - please, please go check out her fantastic site!

Kate xx

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