‘I gather, collate, re-use, layer, peel, burn, reveal, locate, question, duplicate, play and photograph’
Kate MccGwire was born in 1964 in Norwich, United Kingdom. She’s a contemporary British artist who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2004. Now she lives and work in London.
She uses natural materials to create sculptures that are beautiful and fascinating on many different levels. During an interview with Kate, she talked about her love of nature. She marvelled at nature’s way of patterning in such a mathematical way. Her grandfather gave her his fossil repertoire when she was a child. Indeed this gift encourage her love in collect fossils, shells and stones.
Insular: 50 burnt layers to pass over trauma
London-based artist Kate MccGwire created this topographic-ish map of the Americas out of 50 layers of burnt paper.
In 2008, MccGwire’s barge caught fire, virtually destroying the boat and much of its contents. This was a devastating event in MccGwire’s life as, not only had she lost work and materials but, her beautiful studio was damaged. While a majority of her work was destroyed, she was forced to leave old bodies of work behind and start afresh, with new ways of working.
Left amongst the charred remains was a large stack of paper, which although charred on the outside remained a brilliant, perfect white in the center. Kate was fascinated by the possibility that this eminently flammable material had not in fact burnt. So MccGwire went to work on controlling fire through 50 layers of paper, and produced Insular in 2008. The contours of North and South America were cut into the paper and layers were burned to produce this beautiful 3D piece. MccGwire has not spoken or written much about this experience but she did ‘quite a lot of burning paper layers after the fire’ , perhaps an attempt to recover from this traumatic event.
In Insular, Kate literally and metaphorically plays with fire; a hole burnt into the 50 layers of paper resembles an inverted map. The unexpected beauty and fragility of the incinerated papers, however, is subverted by the heresy of the action.
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