The feather explosions of Kate MccGwire

published in: Art By Apostolos Mitsios, 30 March 2011

Pin It

Kate MccGwire in production
Corvid, part of 'BOUND' exhibition (2011) © Kate MccGwire
Courtesy of ''All Visual Arts'' (AVA)

Photo © Tessa Angus

Feathers stand for protection and shelter and bring to our minds our need to fly above the everyday routine and reach for the unknown. They are also connected to mythical fairy tale creatures, symbolizing power and the art of enchantment. With their colors and their complex structure they magnetize and impose. British artist Kate MccGwire shares a fascination for feathers that begun like an accident and finally became a long term love affair. Her latest works are made entirely by feathers and, far from mere ornamentation, Kate uses them to create some really haunting pieces. Her feathers form strange shapes that appear to be alive, they come out of unexpected surfaces, they even invade space with some very surrealistic effects. We don’t know at which extend the artistic means condition the final result, but Kate’s work manages to transmit a certain kind of out of this world beauty, both imposing and fascinating.

Kate MccGwire in production
Corvid, part of 'BOUND' exhibition (2011) © Kate MccGwire
Courtesy of ''All Visual Arts'' (AVA)

Photo © Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire in production
Corvid, part of 'BOUND' exhibition (2011) © Kate MccGwire
Courtesy of ''All Visual Arts'' (AVA)

Photo © Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire’s latest work is called Corvid (2011) and forms part of the Bound exhibition (1 - 30 April 2011) in which she participates with fellow artist Alice Anderson. Together they inaugurate All Visual Arts’ (AVA) new space at Kings Cross, London, in the best possible way. Corvid, according to Kate, is a serpentine formation made of crows’ feathers, a bird associated in folklore with thieving and deviant behaviour. The crows' feathers used in Corvid were sent to her by gamekeepers and farmers who shoot the birds to stop them damaging crops and fledgling birds. A part of this story is reflected in Corvid that with its repeating pattern transmits a wicked kind of beauty.

Kate MccGwire in production
Corvid, part of 'BOUND' exhibition (2011) © Kate MccGwire
Courtesy of ''All Visual Arts'' (AVA)

Photo © Tessa Angus

Warp, 2010 © Kate MccGwire
Mixed media with magpie feathers
50 x 38 cm (diameter)
Photo
© Tessa Angus

SEPAL III  (2011) © Kate MccGwire
Pigeon feathers on Board framed
41 x 41 x 7 cm
Photo
© Tessa Angus

SLICK (2011) © Kate MccGwire
Antique Fire basket, mixed-media with magpie and crow feathers.
Dimensions 250 x 280 x 60 cm
photo © Tessa Angus
Courtesy of Pertwee Anderson & Gold, 15 Bateman Street, Soho, London

One of Kate’s more celebrated works is called Slick (2010), an in situ installation in a fireplace. The gloriously coloured feathers used in Slick come from the wings of magpies - just six on each magpie wing, their blue/green colour only apparent when the birds take flight. The final result is more than intriguing: in one hand one is magnetized by the beautiful colours of the feathers and the three dimensional effect of Slick and on the other hand one feels invaded, even slightly frightened by this mesmerizing mass that comes out of the fireplace instead of fire. Certainly intriguing, Kate’s work hides a lot of surprises for the stranger. This is apparent even in even older works, like Fume (2007), where she literally and metaphorically plays with fire: a hole burnt into the pages of a hand-made book resembles an inverted flower!

We invite you to get deep into Kate MccGwire’s universe, letting your imagination fly high!

detail >> SLICK (2011) © Kate MccGwire
Antique Fire basket, mixed-media with magpie and crow feathers.
Dimensions 250 x 280 x 60 cm
photo © Tessa Angus
Pertwee Anderson and Gold, 15 Bateman Street, Soho, London

FUME (2007) © Kate MccGwire
Handmade book, burnt
38 x 80 x 13 cm
Photo © Tessa Angus

Stigma Series, 2011 © Kate MccGwire
Pigeon tail feathers, felt and lead
42.8 x 42.8 x 7 cm
Series, each work unique
Photo © Tessa Angus

Evacuate, 2010, detail © Kate MccGwire
Site-specific installation
Mixed media with feathers (Mallard, goose, peacock, pheasant, teal, woodcock, woodpigeon, quail, grouse, French partridge, turkey and chicken)
400 x 350 x 120 cm (approximately)
Photo © Jonty Wilde

Evacuate, 2010 © Kate MccGwire
Site-specific installation
Mixed media with feathers (Mallard, goose, peacock, pheasant, teal, woodcock, woodpigeon, quail, grouse, French partridge, turkey and chicken)
400 x 350 x 120 cm (approximately)
Photo © Jonty Wilde

Evacuate, 2010, detail © Kate MccGwire
Site-specific installation
Mixed media with feathers (Mallard, goose, peacock, pheasant, teal, woodcock, woodpigeon, quail, grouse, French partridge, turkey and chicken)
400 x 350 x 120 cm (approximately)
Photo © Jonty Wilde

Sluice, 2009 © Kate MccGwire
Site Specific installation
Pigeon feathers, felt, glue and polystyrene
4.5 x 2.5 x .5 m.
Photo © Francis Ware

Heave, 2008 © Kate MccGwire
Pigeon flight-feathers, felt and wood installation
160 x 80 x 55 cm

BOUND
1st - 30th April 2011
Alice Anderson & Kate MccGwire
Inaugural exhibition at All Visual Arts /AVA , Omega Place, Kings Cross, London, N1 9DR

sources:

Kate MccGwire , All Visual Arts (AVA)

  • friend
    Predrag Pajdic | 2011-03-30 01:02:47

    She is a wonderful artist indeed :o)

  • friend
    Androulla Veliotou | 2011-04-02 01:56:15

    Wordly and other wordly. Pure art.

  • friend
    Stephen Hards | 2011-04-05 16:53:36

    Kate combines rare skill and innovation to create these conceptual 'flights of fancy'. I love their flow and texture and the way the light reacts to the feathered surfaces. I am stunned by their natural beauty and Kate's inspired treatments to the installations. The spellbinding colours of her works Slick and Evacuate generate a new appreciation of nature's paintbrush. I hope her Bound exhibition achieves the success and recognition it deserves. Bravo!

  • friend
    aannah kay | 2012-09-14 12:48:04

    Incredibly rich, intriguing and unexpected. Viceral and inviting but a bit unerving. Truly wondrous. Thank you for the adventure. Birds have been magical creatures for me and the found feathers I come across, always feel like a gift and a treasure. Kate takes it to a whole new level.

  • friend
    Melanie | 2012-10-07 20:13:54

    WHAT THE HELL??? How many birds DIED for this ???? Screw you - the world doesn't need more cruelty disguised as ''art'' - highly ignorant artist.

  • friend
    Veron | 2013-03-25 16:33:28

    Not a single bird died actually. If you don't know what molting is it's you who's highly ignorant. There's a video on this page which explains very well the art process, maybe instead of repeating the word HELL for no reason you should open your eyes properly and perhaps think first instead of opening your mouth. You'll do art a favour and me. Thank you

Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you. - {x}

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the * required information where indicated. Please also rate the article as it will help us decide future content and posts. Comments are moderated. Please no link dropping, no keywords or domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise!