The Art of Losing: Small Works is Margaret McCann’s first solo exhibition in New York. The frontal self-portrait “Disappearing Marge” renders Marge Simpson’s hair a stage set, but most paintings reveal the ‘woman behind the curtain’. Of uncertain age and size, this dwarfish culprit plays out a range of feeling–from ineptitude to grandiosity–familiar to any painting devotee. McCann also departs from the realistic resolution and metaphysical remove of her still life and giant paintings. Scale dislocation still operates, but humor leads.
‘The art of losing’ is a phrase repeated throughout Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “One Art.” In it, the calming effects of repetition and formal mastery conjoin the divergent tasks of losing and writing. Entropy and creativity likewise move the painter. In various states of conviction, McCann’s convict acts out the way painting, like poetry, gives any aim, any memory, agreeable form.
McCann’s exhibitions include solo shows at Antonia Jannone Disegni di Architettura in Milan, in Rome where she lived for 8 years, and group shows with the Zeuxis still life group. A recipient of Fulbright and Ingram-Merrill grants and a residency at the Cite des Arts in Paris, McCann studied at Yale, the New York Studio School, Wash. U. in St. Louis, and is currently a visiting professor at Syracuse University. She writes art reviews for Art New England, and a satirical column “Woman on the Street” (wirenh.com).