Cathy McClure: Re-Imagineering
School of Art Studio + Folio Gallery
November 18, 2021 - February 6, 2022
As a multi-media artist with a strong background in metal design, Cathy McClure is seduced by the limitless potential of sterling silver, copper, bronze, and steel. Her enthusiasm for the techniques and traditions of metalwork is rivaled only by a wild preoccupation with engineering, mechanical toys and the discrepancy between the public's perception of an imagined techno-future and that future that we now inhabit. Using plush and tin toys as metaphors, she creates kinetic sculptures, installations and videos highlighting the societal penchant for over-consumption and over-production.
Her latest body of work involves deconstruction and reinvention. Hands wielding scissors, she massacres discarded motor-driven robotic plush toys, eviscerating them through a Geppetto-like taxidermy until she gets down into the guts of the piece. Skinning her "Bots" to the bone, all that remains are their various articulated plastic limbs and bodily armature, which contains the preserved mechanisms that gave these once-cuddly Elmos and elephants and Mickeys and roosters their life-like movement and sound.
For this fifth incarnation of my Mickey Hardwired installation, I have taken an enigmatic series of animatronic unstuffed Mickey skeletons and rewired each group to their single control buttons. Beginning in synchronous motion, as the drama unfolds the functional forms of these stuffed animal innards quickly falters. Dissent spreads as they whirr, click and ratchet further and further out of sync. As we watch the army of self-choreographed bots cluster and disperse, we begin to attribute individual personalities and relationships into these identical forms. Hovering shadows on the surrounding walls underscores the drama.
Cathy McClure, is an American sculptor and anti-disciplinary artist. She received her BFA from Texas Tech University in Lubbock in 1995 then moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where she received her MFA in 1997. That same year, she received the Seattle Art Museum's 19th Annual Betty Bowen Memorial Award. McClure has received multiple residencies, grants, and awards including Le Quai Fete in Paris, an Artist Trust Fellowship and more recently, she was a 2018 Artist In Residence at Pilchuck Glass School. She was also awarded an AIR at the Vashon Residency in 2021. Her work is part of several public and private collections, including The Pace Collection in Dallas, the White House permanent collection and the Bard Collection in New York. She has had solo shows at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, the Nassau County Museum in New York and the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington state. She has exhibited widely, including the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, the Milton Hershey School Museum in Hershey Pennsylvania, LHUCA and Art Miami Basel. McClure is represented by Edelman Arts and Moss in New York, New York and Connecticut, respectively. Currently, she is the Artist Consultant for the 4 block expansion of the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. She is concurrently working on a large scale commissioned public artwork for the new building, which will open in August of 2022.