Internationally renowned British sculptor Kate MccGwire uses natural materials to explore the play of opposites at an aesthetic and visceral level. These works are familiar yet otherworldly, beautiful and disgusting, tranquil and malicious.
I am interested in how we are drawn to things but repelled by them at the same time – the familiar, when seen out of place that defies reason. My forms are bodily and linked with our selves, but made alien by the materials I use.
This solo show is her first retrospective exhibition and includes new works alongside those dating back to her degree show. Her graduation work was bought by the collector Charles Saatchi in 2004 and he has been an ongoing supporter ever since.
MccGwire was raised on the Norfolk Broads, where her father made his living building boats. She developed a connection with nature, and in particular a fascination with birds which has informed her work ever since.
After completing her M.A. in sculpture at London’s Royal College of Art in 2004, she bought a barge as a studio on a decrepit island on the River Thames. It was here she discovered a colony of pigeons in a nearby shed which prompted her to start collecting their feathers, fascinated by the duality of their cultural associations. MccGwire now receives dropped feathers from farmers, gamekeepers, and pigeon racers. She has also worked with a variety of other mediums – many of them found, everyday materials, including wishbones and hair.
The dove is the symbol of peace, purity, and fertility, but it’s exactly the same species as a pigeon – which everyone regards as being dirty, foul, a pest. I am interested in how we are drawn to things but repelled by them at the same time – the familiar, when seen out of place that defies reason. My forms are bodily and linked with ourselves, but made alien by the materials I use.