*1964 Norwich /England – lives in London
Kate MccGwire has worked with various materials, such as hair, pasta, and bones, but for a few years now her distinguishing trademark has been feather sculptures. In 2006, she started using found materials to create art. Nowadays, she is able to meet her increased demands for materials thanks to farmers and pigeon breeders who send her feathers by mail.
MccGwire transforms beautiful feathers into a work of art by transferring and placing individual feathers on foreign bodies. She often takes up entire rooms and places those forms in them. They seem to pour out of holes in walls, pipes, or chimneys, or to crawl on the furniture like snakes. MccGwire usually places smaller works under glass domes, in glass cases, or combines them with huge metal clamps, which seem almost brutal when juxtaposed with the soft, delicate feathers. Depending on the context, they can seem attractive or repulsive to us. MccGwire transmits that duality of connotations by taking fallen feathers, a natural waste product, and transforming them into art. Although always abstract, these structures resemble anthropomorphic curves and seem to be very dynamic. Many of them appear to be flowing, able to come to life at any moment or change their form. The feathers suggest movement and mobility owing to their layered arrangement imitating the plumage of birds. But they are no longer animals. And while this alienation can cause a feeling of slight discomfort, it is still easy to give into the temptation of something one has never seen before.
In 2004, MccGwire graduated with a degree in sculpture from the Royal College of Art in London. Her works have been displayed in many exhibitions in Europe, and in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.