3 June-15 July, 2011
PV : Wed 8 June 6-10pm
Artist Talk: Sat 2 July 11 am
43 Inverness Street is proud to announce a solo exhibition by Chad McCail.
On the ground floor of the gallery, McCail is exhibiting a new work, Rites of Spring (A story for adolescents in 12 pictures), 2011, a series of twelve gouache paintings about the sexual initiation of a boy and girl. Before setting off on a journey, they are each given a knife by an elderly couple. Their destination is a tree with flowers which look like human genitals. When they find the tree, they copulate with the flowers. But as they begin, a root rises from the ground and threatens to strangle them. Using their knives, they cut themselves free and escape with the root. Afterwards, as they wash themselves in a pool, snakes emerge from the severed roots and they return home with these emblems of their awakened sexuality.
McCail explains, “Our first experience of sexuality is vertiginously dislocating. We meet a force which uses us and threatens to overwhelm us. Recognising it as a time of vulnerability and danger, other cultures surround puberty with story and ritual.” With Rites of Spring, the artist offers us a story which evokes the essential strangeness of sexuality.
Upstairs at 43 Inverness Street, McCail will be presenting Monoculture, 2010, a large-scale digital c-print. Monoculture is a cutaway drawing of a school. The work describes how the school system processes children en masse and in age-related batches through a highly standardized and closely monitored system involving a compressed range of largely bureaucratic activities. It proposes that compulsory education conditions the majority for largely uncreative work with minimal responsibilities, while weakening relations among children and encouraging the development of a competitive ethos, which limits their ability to cooperate with one another. In the picture, this authoritarian quality is impressed upon the children so that as they progress they begin to acquire a shadowy block identity, composed of the repressed anger and frustration caused by the system’s inflexible, divisive nature. This debilitating and isolating block identity mirrors the world of highly refined mass produced units into which they eventually graduate, a world which is both the expression of this identity and one for which they are fitted.
In the past, Chad McCail’s distinct figurative style has produced works in which two strands have been evident – one idealistic, affirming our potential to radically alter the way we live and organise ourselves, and the other critical and polemical, challenging existing institutions. Both threads are represented here as the artist continues to raise questions about the politics of childhood and adolescence. Rites of Spring employs an illustrative form to tell a story which embraces the compelling and urgent nature of adolescent sexuality, while Monoculture emphasises the flat, graphic quality of the computer-generated image to examine how the educational system stifles and isolates.
Chad McCail lives and works in Scotland. Recent exhibitions include, Systemic, a solo show, and Rank: Picturing the social order 1600-2009 at the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland and Sh(OUT) Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow. His work is included in many public collections including the British Council Collection; MAMCO, Geneva; MOMA, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Glasgow; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Musée d’Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean, Luxembourg.
please visit http://www.chadmccail.co.uk/