For fine artist Kate MacDowell the “real” world impact of contemporary society on the environment is the inspiration behind much of her work to date. Kate actively responds to environmental stressors—climactic change and toxic exposure—while providing nature’s creatures with anthropomorphic qualities for protection and survival from man-made threats. (Assisted Living details, above).
Kate MacDowell recently completed her new piece, “Assisted Living,” (13×11.5×7). Well-articulated piece, featuring great narrative detail. I caught up with Kate to ask her questions about Erasure and her latest porcelain piece.
mM : Please talk about the duality of human features intermingled with the bird of prey : what provoked your initial thoughts about your new piece, assisted living?
KATE : I was thinking about how the California Condor was brought back from the brink of extinction (22 birds left in the wild) by a captive breeding program in which the first egg from a pair was removed from the nest and hand raised by biologists wearing condor hand puppets. I wanted to make a piece which emphasized the “hands on” nature of this approach, and how sometimes species preservation depends on such laborious egg by egg care-taking. (Assisted Living details, above).
I often start with a case study related to an environmental tragedy, but this was a case study related to the beginning of a success story, which was refreshing. (Black Bat, above).
mM : How has the Erasure feature cover been received?
KATE : Well, they are also featuring different works of mine on 2 (or possibly 3) single CD covers designed by Tom Hingston. You can see an interview with the Art Director on the Erasure site here. (see Oct. 21st)
KATE : ” Where did the idea for the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ cover come from?
Paul A. Taylor – ….. We discussed ideas such as having realism within the art and second look peculiarities that brought a depth of beauty with a touch of unease about it. Andy also kept coming back to having a heart involved somehow, but in a more realistic way than we have had before. This is what I took to Tom and I will now hand over to Tom for him to say how he put together the next set of ideas for us to go through.
Tom Hingston - For us it was about taking really strong iconography (in this case the heart) and then twisting or perverting it in some way. For a while now, I’ve been a fan of Kate McDowell’s beautiful, twisted sculptures – and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to collaborate. So we created this imaginary heart that revealed another world inside, but a world that suggested something fantastic or magical, using butterflies, birds and flowers. I like the idea that by creating a layered image the viewer would continue to explore or discover hidden elements within the composition. Ultimately it was about making something that felt iconic but multi-dimensional at the same time. (Video here).