Sunday, September 16, 2018

Kate MccGwire & Mathieu Dufois, Ce monde-ce et l'autre @ la galerie particulière

Kate Mccgwire, Squall, 2017
I was very happy to kick start the season’s gallery visits with this exhibition at my local gallery, la galerie particulière, a joint show of Kate Mccgwire and Mathieu Dufois, Ce monde-ci et l’autre. The juxtaposition of two artists whose work is not obviously connected produces fascinating results, emphasizing the other worldliness in each suggested by the title Ce monde-ci et l’autre. Mathieu Dufois’s work, which I didn’t previously know, is conceptually and visually compelling. Dufois produced the works on view in this exhibition while at a residency in the Vallée Vézère, in the prehistoric world of the Dordogne. Many will know the ancient cave drawings of bison and other bovine animals from Werner Herzog’s 2010 film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams documentary on the miraculously preserved images.
Mathieu Dufois, The Herd 2, 2017
Dufois transfers archival photographic images, usually taken at night, of animals to drawings, and in that transference he claims to be bringing the past to life. While the animals in his images are not the same cave drawings, they do look like ghosts are racing away from lights under which they are visually trapped. The animal forms are like apparitions not meant to be discovered, not meant to be visible, who have accidently stumbled into the light. In other of Dufois’s images, the light looks to be a spotlight that effectively puts them on a stage, and consequently, the animals begin to perform for the camera. The images play with time, representation and the ancient world of the lost, hidden animals. It’s just that they happen to come out at night, happen to be caught by the camera. Dufois talks a lot about questions of memory being triggered by the old images, but if it’s another world at stake here, it is something and somewhere more mysterious and more unreachable than the historical past.
Kate Mccgwire, Swarm, 2018
In contrast, Kate Mccgwire makes sculptures that are so present they are unnerving to the point where they become frightening. That said, I must say, since I was familiar with her feathered forms in glass cabinets, I wasn’t as creeped out as I was the first time I saw them. The titles of her work have the sense of something crawling and shaking on the skin. Swarm, 2018, Squall, 2017, Tremor, 2018 on display here are her familiar feathered compositions and creations that on one level we want to resemble birds, but on another, have no relation to the living flying creatures. The sculptures draw us up close and we admire the pretty patterns of the feathers and then we recoil as, over time, they take on characteristics of being alive. Mccgwire’s works are otherworldly in that they sit somewhere between the sinister and the beautiful, the natural and the man made, the living and the dead. If we look at them for too long, we start to fear they might suddenly burst out of their cabinets and attack us. On a more serious note, her work challenges the way we look, where we stand in relation to a piece of art, and draws attention to our desire to make the unknown knowable.

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