This project engages with the fluidity of landscape in complicated times, and the environment as metaphor for states of consciousness. The gallery is constellated by amorphous island platforms upon which natural, manmade, surreal, and precious mountain-like objects are staged. Other forms multitask as topographies, destination, and site. At play are the principals of zen gardens, in which the design of space and the objects within it reflects and expands the spatial aspects of the mind.
Phase Shifts and Other Probabilities:
Kirk McCarthy’s work provides a contemplative haptic experience that suggests or evokes the processes and shifts in consciousness that can occur as one encounters the world in unexpected ways. The mundane and the sublime rub up against each other in constant flux. Experimental combinations of objects, materials, and speculative associations engage our sense of how reality is potentially altered through proprioception and sensory intelligence.
In some philosophies, all elements of physical existence (which includes both mind and matter) are embodiments of unseen forces or intelligence. The infinite field of forms and thoughts can be used to approach concepts and forms of knowledge that can only be hinted at or known through direct experience. The physical world can function as both an obstacle, or veil through which we base our perception of reality, or it can be a tool or machine for contemplation, like a yantra.
Phase Shifts and Other Probabilities is a multi media exhibition in which a complex linear structure inhabits one of the doorways to the gallery and snakes into the central space via connections to the walls, floor, and ceiling. Translucent multicolored rubber pours are interspersed and draped within the structure, and a variety of forms - both found and hand made objects from the Taxonomies project - are inserted throughout.
2014 June in Chinatown, The Artblog, Roberta Fallon, June 15th; TandM Gallery
Kirk McCarthy’s show “Liminal Systems” at the 4th floor TandM is a revelation. Comprised of hundreds of large and small objects, a free-standing linear sculpture, wall sculptures and things stacked and leaned up against walls, the installation is both chaos and order, like the harmonic convergence of good design, no design and serendipity.
As you walk through the space looking down on the found and handmade objects in “Taxonomies in Flux, ongoing series,” 2011-2014, what you see on the jury-rigged shelves held up by wood chunks approximates a specimen table, perhaps from an archeological dig.
The placing of objects on shelves in careful groupings reminds me of Gabriel Orozco’s displays of matter only here McCarthy seems fueled less by social criticism than by formal and materials’ concerns. That said, some things do come in for criticism, or at least questioning, like domesticity and kitsch (or comfort) design. For example: the silver platter with a blob of poured or cast epoxy on it, which seems to comment on the worth of precious family heirlooms and rituals; and the kitsch under the magnifying glass, which is truly hilarious when you come upon it half-way through the first shelf; both instances show astute placement of objects for a purpose other than simply formal interplay of color, texture and materials. Perhaps the use of the found object imbues the work with the social context, because those objects come front-loaded with meaning (tradition, comfort), which this new context subverts.
The large freestanding sculpture, what McCarthy calls one of his “Ultraform Systems,” is a linear construction of wire and epoxy. The ghostly anthropomorphic object is like a 3D version of a drawing, perhaps made with a computer program.
The artist, who moved here from Houston with his wife, Jackie Tileston, has not shown much in town, finding it somewhat hard to “break in” to the scene, he said. That is a shame because this is serious good work.
With a BFA and MFA in ceramics, an MFA in sculpture and an MID in industrial design, McCarthy is mixing and matching the best of all of those disciplines. The installation feels composed, and yet mutable; if you turn your back on it, it just might morph into something different. Catch it while you can.