The Uncanny Feather
Using biological elements to create fluid forms of movement, artist Kate MccGwire takes bird feathers and assembles them into strange, intertwining forms. Playing with materiality, the artist uses feathers to mimic flowing water or curving scales, creating “images that both attract and disturb the viewer” – an unnerving beauty.
Is it a new creature, or a plant? Perhaps not even a representation of a living organism at all, making the objects exhibited even more uncanny; the fluidity of material yet stable nature of the pieces are like representations of an object in motion, yet frozen in time. The artist is “using the language of nature to create unnatural forms” challenging the viewer’s expectation of the use of material, manipulating it into “undulating, organic, otherworldly form[s]”, neither slick and on objects ready for flight, nor daintily soft and plumy on a pillow surface.
This connection of opposites allows us to think about how our perceptions of materiality and aesthetic influence our expectations of certain materials and objects.