"Chaos for me breeds images." -- Francis Bacon
JFM Theory: Chaos is the ultimate order.
The energy embodied in John McCarthy's art springs from a chaos that exists at a level that far surpasses the categories of abstract expressionism and other forms of so-called "accidental art."
It is a place where the meaningful and the meaningless can playfully co-exist; where reason and the illogical exist side by side; where the details are always superior to the whole; where chaos is the ultimate order, where a lightning bolt of paint ignites texture and impasto in an electric explosion of conscious thought and anxious action. It represents a separate multiverse - where opposing sides forever reverse, replace each other and merge.
Conversely, the rules of the world can also be seen as reversals, betrayals, plot twists, double identities, traps, time warps, black holes, rebellions in consciousness, metamorphoses and the big bang.
McCarthy's paintings are shards of broken-glass paint that re-define a cubist view of chaos theory. They are atomic or subatomic explosions of colors like nothing that has come before. Look closely at the rivers of color represented in his action painting and see if you can decipher how they are produced.
Just as Zeus' lightning bolts were a gift from The Cyclops, John's art is a byproduct of the subconsious and conscious minds, a blitzkrieg of paint unleashed onto a yielding canvas. The "King of Pitched paint" could match swords with Zeus when it comes to bullwhipping a line of paint to its mark - there is even a "thwacking" sound effect as he paints - Fx that aren't science fiction in origin, but the organic aftermath is a creation - complete with cosmic goo - that mimics our own universe's origins.
The lust for gratification through creating and destroying and leads to a stubborn repetition of crash and redux - like a Tsunami wave from Katsushika Hokusai. Chaos overflows and only the foam remains. But in McCarthy's case, there is more sand than sea - and a Smithsonian photographer has compared his works to those of Anselm Kiefer - because of their use of rain, sand and seashells mixed with the paint. Many of his works are purposely rain-dimpled - put out into the rain deliberately while wet - giving his oevre (including "Ephemeral Camel Head" and the triptych "Purple") an other-wordly texture that no other artist can claim.
But the most fascinating thing about McCarthy as an artist is the way in which he adheres to his absurd logic, while simultaneously presenting the meaning and the meaninglessness of his art. The reason is this baseball-pitcher-like painter, this graphic trompe l'oeil of lines has the innate ability to recall the great power of art he has seen in the past - where the viewer contributes the meaning most significant to oneself.
This kind of art has the power to change the world in an instant - to re-open the old, sacred circuit that exists in all of us - because although art is the ultimate unknown paradigm - when it is done right - it always triggers an immediate, primeval visual response.
--Yael Bloor, Key West, 2008