Beauty, for MccGwire is complex, sometimes discomfiting but always edifying. It can repel, pose a problem and make one question the status quo. The same goes for her work. For instance, her cabinet works like Vice, Gag and Stifle look deceivingly ethereal and pretty only for the viewer to discover they’ve been made out of pigeon and crow feathers. It entices and then repels, making us reexamine our prejudices about what we deem beautiful.
Yesterday, NYC-based artist Caitlin Masley took time out of her impressive exhibition whirlwind to sit down and share her thoughts with me. Here is a transcript of our conversation:
“Taking it personally is one the hardest issues for many artists to overcome.”
Congratulations on your current residencies and exhibitions. Could you tell me more about these residencies and how they’ve helped further your career, as well as what you’ve gotten out of them personally?
I started the Triangle Arts Residency in December and will be starting the Manhattan Graphics Center in February (both will last until June). First, I’d like to say how much I like residencies. Not only do you get access to a free studio, but you get to meet a variety of artists you otherwise may have never met. You also get supported in many ways. Here at Triangle Arts, there are interns that are extremely helpful if you need them, there is an open studio weekend, and they have visiting curators/gallerists. At Manhattan Graphics Center, I have the opportunity to take a variety of printmaking classes, full use of the studio, and a small materials stipend (which I will use toward a woodblock class and a new series of works).
The very talented multi-media artist Mia Pearlman took the time to answer some questions burning on my mind after being introduced to her gorgeous work:
Q: You say that the paper sculptures “exist only for the length of an exhibition.” Unless I’m mistaken, this sounds like the work gets destroyed (though I hope I AM mistaken). Do you scrap the work entirely? Or do you reuse the various pieces of each installation for future projects?
A: I reuse the cut paper pieces from show to show, and often add new pieces as well. Part of the challenge of my work is finding new ways of using this vocabulary of shapes differently each time. The installations only last for the duration of the exhibition because they are created right on the walls and ceiling of the space. They could not be recreated unless the measurements and lighting of a different location were exactly the same.
After sitting at a desk cutting paper, creating a new piece feels like dancing. A dance on a ladder with map tacks and paper clips in my mouth…
Our next featured artist will be the very talented Mia Pearlman. I will interview her about the process of creating one of her phenomenal installation pieces, and her thoughts on the contemporary art scene. If there are any questions you’d like me to ask Mia, please contact me and let me know.
George Pfau, a multi-media artist based in the San Francisco bay area, generously opens up about his current exhibition, zombies, and his altogether fascinating inspiration from beyond the grave:
Q: I interviewed your friend Joshua Hagler in my last feature. Both you and Joshua are showing together in your current exhibition “Nearly Approaching Never to Pass”, which features pieces you worked on together. Do you two have projects you intend to collaborate on together in the future?
A: I loved your interview with Josh, although I never would have guessed that my “breast pocket” or my alleged opening night antics would be topics of conversation (I did drink a lot of root beer before the reception). I told Josh I would jump at the chance to show with him “even if it was in a barn in Nebraska.” While I was in Austria in August, Josh emailed me about showing with Sharon Reaves and I was immediately on board. When I got back to San Francisco we met up and the collaborative juices starting flowing immediately and pretty damn smoothly. It was interesting because the invention of the “Pfaugler” print medium really happened in step with the creation of the project’s conceptual framework. Probably the only bit of drama that happened was when Josh’s puppy, Francis Falcore Bacon, tried to eat a chop-stick.
Q: Although your body of work has a strong, clear point-of-view, it seems like you are interested in many different forms of art; from more straightforward jewelry design, to highly conceptual installation pieces. Is it difficult to choose between these genres?
A: I enjoy creating both jewelry and installations. The two are very similar to me, with the only differences being site and scale. My background is primarily in sculpture. I like to think of the jewelry I create as small sculptural objects.
“20 Pulleys Necklace”
“I welcome surprises . . . I allow room for the various materials, my mistakes, and new ideas to challenge and guide me throughout the creative process.”