June 18, 2021
These images are from a recent series of works exploring landscape as a multi-layered signifier, representing national territory, boundaries, control, and a sense of unease or threat. The works have been produced in the context of the ongoing tension between the desire for openness and fluidity on the one hand, and the ringfencing of nation states and territories as ideological enclosures, with an increase in barriers to mobility and migration on the other.
As images they draw upon the picturesque construction of landscape as an indicator of national identity, informed by the ideas of the romantic and the sublime, yet are underpinned by a sense of disquiet or alienation. As such they represent an investigation into the role that images of landscape play in relation to ideology.
About the Artist
Conor McGrady (Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, 1970) is an Irish artist, primarily working in painting and drawing. McGrady's work examines the role of authority in contemporary society, mainly in how power is manifested and represented in architecture, urban space, and in individual and collective actions. The work arises from situations of civil unrest and social instability, often drawing on the artist’s experience growing up in Northern Ireland.
McGrady has exhibited internationally, with one-person exhibitions in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and Zagreb. Group exhibitions include the 2002 Whitney Biennial in New York, The Jerusalem Show VII: Fractures (Qalandiya International Biennial), D-0 Ark Underground Biennale of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo-Konjic, and IK-00 Spaces of Confinement in Venice. Editor of Radical History Review’s Curated Spaces, his writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Ruminations on Violence (Waveland Press, 2007), State of Emergence (Plottner Verlag, 2011), and State in Time (Drustvo NSK Informativni Center, Ljubljana, 2012). McGrady lives and works in the Burren, Ireland, where he is the dean of academic affairs at the Burren College of Art.
Mountains Series, 2018-2022
Gouache on paper
22 x 32 inches
Courtesy of the artist