- Paper, pigment, beads , 2018
34.5 x 31.5 in
Light and California:
I was born in Bakersfield, California but grew up working in surf shops along the coast. I learned to fiberglass in my teens and in my thirties learned to use spray equipment to shoot lacquer and urethane paint. Light and California are an inseparable mythology, add optical illusions and surface and you have defined the key interests of my studio practice.
Personal lenses + Cultural mirrors:
My work has a lot of handcraft but also uses equal amounts of technology, both of which are buried or embedded into the final outcome. Growing up in California the first art movement that really inspired me were the Finish Fetish artists [Larry Bell, Judy Chicago, Joe Goode], artists who used car and surfboard culture as a lens as well as a mirror. [McGill got her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.] Their work is very high craft, but it’s that craft that buffs itself into invisibility. I hope the viewer understands that the crafting of the work is predicated on the artist’s skills and engagement with the process and that it acts as a personal lens as well as a cultural mirror.
Politically, I am a feminist. I was the head of a graduate sculpture program for over twenty years [at Michigan’s Cranbury Academy of Art—and an artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College and the Pilchuck Glass School]. My agenda was to teach from a platform of equality and criticality. I think education is extremely important and found it gave value to my life. I became interested in customizing when I moved to Detroit, but found few women present in the field historically or currently. Is the field of customizing closed to women or are we as a gender not interested? It is an intriguing and unanswered question.
Working to the edge:
I gravitate to artists that I would define as having idiosyncratic practices. Their work might be associated with a movement or time period, but primarily they work to the edge of it or could be considered fringe, even if they find economic success. Artists’ whose work reflects a uniquely personal worldview and is expressed in a formal language that is not commonly seen.
Stencil + spray:
The use of pattern has been a long term and serious investigation for me as an artist. Pattern can be a method to move through a lot of content and experimentation both optically and culturally. In the 1990s I began experimenting with spraying intricate patterns on form, using the taping and stenciling methods used by customizers. I have continued to investigate the use of stencils and sprayed pigments for over twenty years.
Decoration is an agreed-upon system to organize and interpret our world. Unfortunately, it is often thought of as synonymous with anti-intellectualism.
But everything is decoration.
Most of the shapes in my work are derived from objects that were mass-produced and therefore have a real-world referent. Shapes that conjure in the viewer’s mind a familiarity or an association, but not quite the ability to pinpoint its origin. The shapes appear very “specific,” yet the specifics do not ever settle back onto the existing object. I want that sense of a “driven form” without identification.
Warp, weft, spray:
Because I use textiles as the basis for pattern, the grid is inherently present due to the weaving process. I use the grid system of the warp and weft as a system of structure upon which I can hang imagery, by spraying successive layers of pattern.
A loaded gun:
Experimenting with color is one of the aspects of making that I never plan. I love to load up the spray gun and see what happens. Spraying is very different than using a brush. Both are prosthetics, but spraying allows for more immediate results as well as a seamless, mechanized look. I spray layers of colors to achieve the resulting effect. As for colors, well, I don’t have a favorite color.PRESS