Kate MccGwire @ All Visual Arts

The gallery which gave us taxidermy for the summer is now presenting its audience with feathers for the winter. Six months ago All Visual Arts gave us the preserved animal remains from the Serengeti of Polly Morgan. Now, we are shown nature from closer to home, the beguiling sculptures of Kate MccGwire constructed out of feathers from crows, pigeons and magpies.

MccGwire has presented the viewer with stunning depictions of natural elegance. All the feathers used are either black, white, blue or grey. Never mixing colour or type together she allows them to shine individually in a subtle display of beauty. I would never have imagined pigeon feathers to be appear so decadent and had I not been aware that the artist had used the feathers of a bird so often thought of as vermin, I would never have had any idea.

In terms of form, the feathers are arranged in large plaited offerings to coiled cylinders. MccGwire has also used the quill ends in some of her works to show another dimension and texture. Some of the works have been displayed in antique cabinets to add another sense of luxury and wealth. Where other feathers are shown through holes in burnt lead coloured canvases to give a contrast of texture. The works also range in size from small and dainty to the extraordinarily large Gyre, a large black plait which sprawls itself across the gallery floor like some kind of exquisite feathered monster.

This show is incredibly graceful. MccGwire succeeds in showing the bird in a way never thought possible before. Bewitching, beguiling and engaging.

Kate MccGwire: Lure is on display at All Visual Arts until 26 January 2013

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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