Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in Surrey. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?
It’s natural to concentrate on what an artist is showing, but where makes a big difference. Kate MccGwire’s ‘Lure’, on tour to the Discovery Centre, Winchester this summer, originated at All Visual Arts, who – long with Pertwee, Anderson & Gold – have shown MccGwire extensively in London. Both galleries favour the gothic drama of spotlit darkness, and it was a welcome change to see the work in daylight. MccGwire has been using feathers – sourced from an extensive network of pigeon fanciers and farmers – since 2006, and if that sounds a gimmick on a par with building ships out of matchsticks, the naturally-lit results belie any such equation. Rather, MccGwire marshalls various feathers into a rich and darkly animate minimalism in which all parts get used, from the thousands of full feathers teeming into abstracted yet creature-like forms such as ‘Gyre’, to the quills of crows: laid flat, they make for serial mark-making akin to Hanne Darboven’s; stood on end (‘Surge’) they seethe like an organic version of Gunther Uecker’s nail works. Then, peeping at fanned pigeon feathers through lead sheeting (‘Stigma’), I was reminded of the burned works of Alberto Burri. And a promising new strand creates a version of one of Hans Haeckel’s illustrations of underwater forms, neatly combining the freedom of the air with life in the watery depths.