Kate MccGwire is an internationally renowned British sculptor whose practice probes the beauty of the uncanny. In creating arresting, sensuous, otherworldly sculptures, she explores ideas relating to Sigmund Freud’s notion of the ‘unheimliche’ or ‘unhomely’, rendering the familiar strange and disturbing, often triggering a visceral response in the viewer.
Growing up on the Norfolk Broads, MccGwire was fascinated by birds and the natural world from an early age, with avian subjects becoming a recurring theme in her artwork. Employing natural materials and in particular, feathers, MccGwire creates freestanding sculptures and site-specific works, her forms evolving intuitively and subconsciously based on subtle patterns or details within her chosen materials.
This major monograph features works spanning her career, from the unsettling fabric and clothing works of the turn of the millennium through to the fantastical site-specific installation and interventions of her solo exhibition in 2020 at Harewood House. In the first essay commissioned for the publication, independent curator and writer Jane Neal explores themes of childhood and family, nature and the body, physics and metaphysics, opening up connections between MccGwire’s works and myths, legends and belief systems across time and cultures. The second essay, by Dr Catriona McAra, an art historian and Curator at Leeds Arts University, explores MccGwire’s oeuvre in relation to the history of soft sculpture, abstraction and surrealism, especially with regard to feminist histories and to notions of counter-modernism. She asserts: ‘The grotesque and the uncanny have sustained a significant hold over MccGwire’s creative imagination, with interlocking thought-forms and otherworldly beings dominating her oeuvre.’
Lavishly illustrated with around 140 images, the publication has been edited by independent curator and writer Mark Sanders and designed and produced by Peter B. Willberg.
Kate MccGwire (b.1964, Norfolk, UK), undertook a BA in Fine Art at University College for the Creative Arts, Farnham, before completing an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London. Solo exhibitions include ‘Menagerie’, Harewood House, Leeds (2020); ‘Dichotomy’, The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, UK (2018); ‘Sasse/Sluice’, Aldeburgh Festival, UK (2018); ‘Secrete’, Galerie Huit, Hong Kong (2016); ‘Scissure’, La Galerie Particulière, Paris (2016); and ‘Covert’, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris (2014). She has featured in group exhibitions at venues including the Fondazione Berengo, Murano, Italy; Gewerbemuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Guerlain House, Paris; Centre of Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland; Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig, Germany; the Museum of Arts & Design, New York; and the Contemporary Art Society, London. In 2018 she was the winner of The Royal Academy of Arts’ Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture.
200pp, hardback (clothbound with dust jacket), 310 × 240 mm, c.140 images
RRP: £45 / €52,50 / $60
UK release date: 8 April 2021
US release date: 20 May 2021
Edited by Mark Sanders
Designed and produced by Peter B. Willberg
Published by Anomie Publishing, London
Images © Kate MccGwire 2021. Courtesy of the artist
Photography by J P Bland, Jonty Wilde and Francesco Allegretto