The Twisted Beauty of Alicia McCarthy's Universe
Alicia McCarthy makes mesmerizing art. The rawness of her marks are palpable, mistakes left behind well twisted lines and intersecting colors collide. For years, she has eloquently and powerfully pushed the idea of Folk art to new levels, allowing her signature style to expand and contract. "I went abstract because I felt like I never worked narratively, even though there would be recognizable images and people or figures," McCarthy told us a few years ago, "I wanted to see if I could get the same emotional quality without it, and again, it would feel a little bit more universal."
Jack Hanley Gallery is pleased to present Alicia McCarthy’s ninth solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will inaugurate Jack Hanley’s new gallery space on 177 Duane Street in TriBeCa and will feature new McCarthy paintings in her distinct visual vocabulary. In twisted knots, intertwined arcs and lines shaped like hourglasses, streams of color seem to flow up and down in time, holding center at crossroads.
Alicia McCarthy’s abstract compositions combine complex details and patterns with raw painterly gestures, her drawings and paintings lure the eye into a maze of lines in which it is easy to get lost the closer you look. Remnants of paint drips, pencil tests and splashes, smears, and traces of spray paint reveal the surfaces’ pasts, often accompanying the artist in her studio. The paintings come to existence long before the panel is drawn or painted on. This immediacy bares an intimacy between artist and object and carries the artist’s own physicality into each work.
In tracing the lines, her distinct handmade quality is palpable throughout a variety of media including pencil, soft pastel, flashe paint, latex - or spray paint. Both the exploration of media and the use of paint as well as the compositions themselves, balance chance and control, order and chaos, and choose imperfections over sleekness.