ART STUFF on a train # 14: ‘ Feathers and light’ - FAD Magazine

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ART STUFF on a train # 14: ‘ Feathers and light’

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?

mccgwire 2
Surge, 2012

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.


Stigma, 2012



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