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Indepth Arts News:

"Caroline McCarthy: The Glow is Fading"
2002-11-29 until 2003-01-12
Gasworks Gallery
London, , UK United Kingdom

Gasworks Gallery presents the first UK solo exhibition of new work by Caroline McCarthy. Having recently won the AIB Art Prize in Ireland, McCarthy will show two major sculptural installation pieces alongside new photographic works. McCarthy transforms the ordinary, the overlooked into something more exceptional, more compelling - investing the language of the everyday with new and unexpected identities. Illusion is a reoccurring strategy, contesting viewer expectation in works that set out to suggest the promise of surface whilst also exposing it as thin and unreliable.

The photographic works, The Luncheon (2002) and Composition (Pumpkin and Cherries) (2002), present the viewer with images of lavish still-life compositions of fruit and vegetables that mimic the tradition of 17th Century European Vanitas painting. Carefully fabricated from a sodden palette of different coloured toilet paper, these still-life sculptures explore ideas of abundance, excess, desire, and consumption. Whilst relishing in tromp l'oeil painting techniques, the work nevertheless gently probes and subverts the genre of still-life painting. In the project space at Gasworks Gallery, McCarthy will show From The Testors Military Range (2002), which consists of an array of plastic bottles and other familiar consumable packaging painted in various shades of grey, silver and black enamel paint and presented on long glass shelves filling one side of the gallery. The painting is such that the surface of the objects offers a spectacle of luxury electronic goods on display for purchase, a promise that is confounded on closer inspection.

Escape (2002) the largest of the works, continues the exploration of surface appearances and desire through the presentation of an unoccupied domestic space, defined within the main gallery by a standard timber frame. This artificial room is filled with all manner of found objects. Collected over a number of months the objects have one thing in common, which is that they have been found with a leopard skin patterned surface. Looking through the Obars of the frame into a living space smothered with a collection of obsessively accumulated exotica, the viewer is confronted with the literal and metaphorical entrapment that such excessive desire can create.

Caroline McCarthy was born in Dublin in 1971 and she has been based in London since 1997. She has a BA in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Parkers Box, New York (2002) and Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2002); CMYK/Greyscale, (cur. by R.G. Nesbitt), Tramway, Glasgow (2002); Now is the Time, (cur. by K.Freed), Dorsky Project Space, New York (2002); Neverland, Cell Project Space, London (2002); The Spare Room, VTO, London (2002); Tirana Biennale, (sel. By P.Ellis), Albania (2001); From the Poetic to the Political - Irish Art Now, Irish Museum of Modern Art collection touring U.S. (2000); and Postneoamateurism, Chisenhale Gallery, London (1998). Her work is included in the collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Arts Council of Ireland and a number of private collections.

Caroline McCarthy
Composition (Pumpkin and Cherries), 2002
Colour photograph on aluminium of papier-maché sculpture

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