Erin McCarty, an Alaska-born, Arizona-based painter, creates large-scale gouache works that mix influences like the natural world, the human body, and the abstract ideas and emotions surrounding our place in the world. After graduating from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland in 2010, the artist worked in the Oregan area before returning to her home state of Alaska, where she recharged and created a new body of work inspired by the region. These days, she lives in Tucson, where she’s inspired by a new terrain and ecosystem.
In a statement, she offers insight into what drives her work: “Above all else, I am drawn to the excitement, grandeur, and terror of human life and the unknown,” she says. “The marriage of seemingly opposing forces has always provided ample thematic material for me (the earthly and the celestial, adoration and violence, loneliness and communion), and much of my work explores our capacity to be many things at once.”
Though earlier work carries a more human-heavy approach, recent works takes to the animal kingdom, where varying issues are at play at the brush of McCarty. These studies of flora and fauna may seem to take a simpler approach, yet the intricacies lie within the interior parts of paintings like the above “Totem,” which blends textures and hues for a cohesive display of nature.