Edward Lane McCartney: “Media Whore: the persistence of making” at Hooks-Epstein Galleries

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The title of this show refers to the fleeting nature of social media in today’s culture. McCartney is not the “Media Whore” referred to in the title; that would be people like the Kardasians, who use social media platforms to live in the public eye. In fact, McCartney is just the opposite-he believes in the “persistence of making,” the fact that when he makes a work of art, he creates something that persists in the world, unlike Tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos. He organizes the 56 collages and assemblages in the show into nine categories. “Assemblages in Blue” have been described as Louise Nevelson meets Yves Klein. Small but powerful, these wall pieces are constructed from scraps of wood arranged in abstract patterns and painted “Yves Klein Blue.” The category “Paper Cuts” includes a series of abstract colored-paper cutouts layered to reveal the colors below. The Rhythm of Moonlight (2015) is a surreal collage made from antique book illustrations depicting
a tsunami wreaking havoc, as figures run about wailing, boats land on top of rocks, and fish swim in the sky.

For “Cartoneros,” McCartney divides discarded boxes into geometric sections and fills them with cardboard stacked and arranged in creative ways. The series is named for people in Buenos Aires who make a meager living collecting cardboard from the street and selling it. Like the Cartoneros, McCartney uses discarded materials, describing his work as being “crafted from the chaos of the superfluous.” He traces his obsessive need to compartmentalize back to frequent trips to the British Museum when he was a child. Attention to detail is paramount, and everything is expertly assembled. McCartney reminisces about the past in I Don’t Need You to Cut My Meat, Homage to the Post-Feminist American Male (2015), using his mother’s silver carving set to question traditional gender roles: the fork has been transformed into a female figure and the knife a male. In other works, collected seashells become a Victorian-inspired collage, and a teddy bear appears to have been tarred and feathered. McCartney’s transformation of materials provokes new ways of seeing; as he explores color and perception, he asks us to consider how we construct our reality with material possessions, and how we relate to the world around us.

Image:
Ursus Maritimus Petroleum Acclimate
2015
Edward Lane McCartney
Rubber, Kraton 1652 along with solvents, plasticizers, 1,1,1 – trichloroethane, VM&P naphtha, toluene, hexane, etc.
12″ x 12″ x 9″
Photo: courtesy Hooks-Epstein Galleries