Monday, August 22, 2005

Artist of the Week 08/22/05

Doreen McCarthy's work is perhaps the most serious "fun" can get. Nostalgic and futuristic at the same time, her inflatable and plexiglass sculptures represent a very bold vision of materiality and rigorous exploration of formalism, while appealing to the inner-child of the viewer (it's really hard not to want to play with Doreen's work). Consider this series of oversized "live-savers" sculptures currently installed in the sculpture garden of the Art Scheel gallery in Sylt-Ost, Germany:

Doreen McCarthy, Circulation (installation view), 2005, Vinyl, 7' x 7' x7' (approx)

Referencing, in part, the water-based activities this island vacation spot is renown for, these pieces, from a distance, invite the viewer to "come on over and play". Upon approaching them, however, their architectural scale and uncompromising formalism stop you in your tracks. You look around for some signal it's OK to touch them or enter them. It must be...look at them, they're so bright and inviting (it is OK, actually, but you still feel self-conscious doing it).

Doreen's most recent solo exhibition in New York (at Chelsea's now-closed Universal Concepts Unlimited gallery) provided a fortuitous installation opportunity. The gallery's walls and ceiling had been covered in sheet metal for the previous exhibition, and Doreen seized upon this futuristic environment to highlight what one critic approvingly called the "Star Trek" feel of her see-through inflatable forms. Here's an installation shot:

Ms. McCarthy is a very good friend of mine. We've known each other for years (even travelled together), and I've developed a profound respect for her incredible grasp of even the most remote corners of the contemporary art dialog. She's a walking encyclopedia of the trends, issues, personalities, and ups and downs of the NY art world. Here's an installation shot from an exhibition in Europe (not sure where...someone's not that good at labeling the images on her website [hint...hint] ;-).

In her latest series (installed in the interior gallery at Art Scheel...until September 25th, if you're gonna be in that neighborhood), Doreen's been creating plexiglass wall sculptures that open up her exploration beyond the space considerations found in the inflatables and deal more directly with light and color. They're still transparent, but their presence extends beyond the physical shape of the piece and onto the wall, forming an almost cubist composition. The subtlety of these handsome compositions is difficult to show in a photograph, but here's an indication of what I mean:

Here's one final example of a more recent, more complex plexiglass piece, demonstrating the captivating mix of two- and three-dimensional compositions Doreen's achieving here:


Anonymous bambino said...

One of my favorite people in NYC. And one of top most generous people I've ever met in NYC. Looking at her as my sister. Congrads again on Germany solo show.

8/22/2005 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...

Very nice. The plexi work at the bottom of the post reminds me of another artist that I saw at Limn recently, Dean DeCocker.

8/22/2005 06:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Mountain Man said...

Doreen's work is beautiful, glad to see it here.

8/22/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous JL said...

What a hoot. This stuff looks great. Thanks.

8/24/2005 10:13:00 AM  

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