This is 5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in Under the Radar, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from Graham Macaulay.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
I’m looking for the small spaces between, or around the edges of things. Overlapping that is an interest in how things can be pressed to perform on our behalf, to act as placeholders or mediators for lived experience. My work tries to negotiate with frames, flatness, and fixity, and the roles these terms play in contriving static subjects and communities. There are sentimental and escapist tendencies at play, filtering a manner of abstraction through a clumsy poetics, but the presence of the body is always called back through the insistence of materials.
What is an artist’s responsibility?
Magic! Discomfort as well. Attentiveness to the possibilities of vulnerability (and embarrassment) might provide a sort of ethical scaffold to work through.
These are more so instructions for myself: Leave space open for uncertainty. Try to read Karen Barad. Acknowledge and support the presence of bodies other than my own.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
Apparently I was a prolific author when I was a kid. Usually I would draw the pictures and then dictate the story to my parents, who would write it out for me and professionally bind it with wallpaper samples. In this case I wrote it myself (very proud), but my mom did the title on the cover, because she had nicer handwriting (thanks, mom).
The Glowing Bird is about a group of boys who go rafting down a river and get washed away by a “terrible storm” in the night. They end up in a cave where they meet a bird that “glowed red yellow and blue” who provides a new boat and guides them home through the dark. “He glowed they were savd. They went back home and lived happily ever after.”
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
An actual portal. Something that wrinkles up an impossible distance.
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
—The ArtSlant Team
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