Carali McCall - An Arm’s Reach:
The Art of Endurance
Opening November 2, 2019, from 5 - 9 pm
* Live Performance Beginning at 5:30 pm
Mac-Gryder Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by London-based performance artist Carali McCall. “An Arms Reach” will open Saturday, November 2, 2019, from 5 - 9 pm with a live performance by the artist beginning at 5:30 pm. This will be her first live performance in North America. Starting at 5:30 pm on November 2nd, the artist will commence on one of her memorizing Circle Drawing performances, which can last up to three hours. McCall works to the point of muscle failure in her performances by continuously drawing circles counter-clockwise without picking-up her stick of graphite for hours. The final product is many circles superimposed on one another in one continuous line producing a unique one-of-a-kind image with each new performance.
McCall uses her body as a tool, relying on a live audience to give her something to respond to as she performs. It is a new and exciting area in contemporary art to perform the simple act of drawing with graphite on paper to the point of exhaustion. McCall uses the diameter and scale of the body to reveal the entire process of making art. Her work is truly unique. The performance will be filmed live for a documentary, and her recent series of thirteen circle and line drawings will be on display throughout the gallery.
McCall earned her MFA at Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, and her Ph.D. at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts, London. Her “Work No. 1 (Circle Drawing)” is a series that uses the body and energy to create durational artworks. McCall has recently been awarded Arts Council England funding for her next artwork, Run Vertical (Running up the side of a Building).
McCall’s art is an act of endurance. Her large-scale drawings – striking, unbroken graphite circles and lines – are made over the course of one to three hours as she works continuously to the point of physical exhaustion. The paper moves and sways under this action, rippling and splitting from the force of friction. The artist’s handprints are often visible where she braces herself against the fatigue. For McCall, this activity is meaningful in and of itself and is her true impetus. For the viewer, the objects that result from this action are also beautiful, captivating, and profoundly moving.
At first glance, Carali McCall’s circle drawings present a visual conundrum. The lines form a vortex that appears concave but is, in fact, convex, reflecting light rather than absorbing it. Upon closer inspection, the lines are both additive and subtractive. The paper itself is like a living thing. Treated with paint and liquid gold or silver leaf, it reacts to the addition of pigment by curling up and undulating like fabric. Like a leaf. Like skin.
To witness McCall in action is to become fully enthralled and enlivened. The repetition is mesmerizing, the sound of her counter-clockwise motion hypnotic. From the fullest span of her arm’s reach, circles of descending diameter appear as her body tires. The lines travel across the paper as she changes position to accommodate the pain of repeated movement. Stopping brings mingled relief, regret, and elation. The finished drawing bears a coiled map of graphite, the paper, a memory of moments past. Proof of life. Evidence of the one-way flow of time.
The tangible results of the artist's performance embody the universal human quest for meaning. McCall's circle drawings echo the infinity of celestial and earthly cycles. They are a reminder that with every action, however slight, we have a direct and transformative impact on the world.