Kate MccGwire in Paris

by Kirsten AndersonPosted on

“Quell” (photo courtesy of Tessa Angus)

Kate MccGwire, whom we currently feature in Volume 21, will beshowing two new works this winter at Maison Rouge in Paris. These newsculptural pieces, entitled Quell and Lure, both showcase MccGwires trademarkfeather covered sculptures that express both a sensuous flow as well as aconstricted tension.

Quell, made of luminous white dove feathers, recalls theshape of a sleeping swan, its head tucked backward into its feathers, whilebeing unnervingly confined within a tight glass case. As MccGwire explains to Hi Fructose: ” It’s swan like form is serene and peaceful, but look beyond the feathered surface and the area of quills create a surface which is reminiscent of teeth, mouth-like, aggressive and turbulent. In a way Quell is contemporary fairytale, dark and foreboding with an underlying sense of threat. Quell is also a comment on the materials it uses, while doves are a symbol of purity, pigeons are considered rats with wings, yet they are the same bird, the cultural connotations are so powerful that they have become opposite in our regard. With Quell the dove morphs into the darker pigeon feather and in doing so, the viewer is asked to consider these differences, yet before conclusion can be drawn the piece plunges into itself and is silenced. “

“Lure” (photo courtesy of Tessa Angus)

Lure conversely featuresglossy black crow feathers covering a serpentine structure roiling withinitself, also sealed tightly with a clear box.  MccGwire says: ” Lure has a more quiet power, it vibrates with intensity provided by the darkness of the crow feather. Lure waits in silence, seething and quiet but powerful. Both pieces fit closely into their cases like beasts confined, without heads they are trapped, restrained and harnessed.”

Both these sculpture evoke Victorian era natural historymuseums, which rather bizarrely showcased the wonders of living nature byexhibiting thousands of dead, taxidermied creatures tucked safely behind glassand wooden shelves. However MccGwires sculptures seemingly hum with a subterraneanpower, as though an undeniable life force still thrums and threatens to burst throughout these reconstructedshapes. – Kirsten Anderson

All photos by Tessa Angus, courtesy of All Visual Arts, London

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