Kate MccGwire


Installation, sculpture

Kate MccGwire

Past: September 3 → October 15, 2016

Kate MccGwire immerses us in a world that is at once fascinating and fantastical. Enchanting, spell-binding, the work operates on so many levels that its power is impossible to ignore.

MccGwire has been making animal-like forms since 2008, fashioning new hybrid creatures with ‘limbs’ that coil and twist around themselves, as if they might at any moment rouse themselves to life. Made from pigeon feathers, which she patiently collects, cleans and sorts, this ‘bestiary’ looks as if it has come straight from a book of fairy-tales; the sinuous forms have neither an identifiable beginning or end and appear to return us to some primal age of uncertainty while at the same time appearing incredibly familiar.

Using everyday materials that are easy to identify but rarely utilized, MccGwire plays with Freud’s concept of the ‘Uncanny’ (‘Das Unheimliche’), in other words with the idea of a space in which the familiar can somehow provoke a sense of fear. The essential nature of the material lingers in our minds, to the point where it disrupts or even interferes with our vision.

Galerie particuliere kate mccgwire vue expo medium
Kate MccGwire, Vue de l’exposition, La Galerie Particulière, 2016

As well as drawing on our collective imagination, on the association of ideas and conscious and unconscious use of opposites, Kate MccGwire also seeks to question the very notion of beauty (an idea of beauty independent of aesthetic principles — one which is problematic, complex and even repugnant) and to make beautiful that which inherently is not. MccGwire constantly plays with our perceptions and even goes so far as to enshrine her curios by placing them in precious-looking, antique vitrines.

Central to MccGwire’s practice is her questioning of the relationship of the work to the spectator: starting out as pencil sketches, her recurring circular or spiral forms generate a kind of field of attraction which serves to draw the spectator in, recalibrating the usually observed distance between viewer and object. We find ourselves sucked in like magnets — and whether ultimately we are repelled or seduced by what we see, the work absorbs us, rooting itself deep within our memory.

  • Opening Saturday, September 3 at 6:30 PM