Lorette C. Luzajic for Art Bomb: You just received an award for best mixed media in show. Tell us about your work, what drives it, and how and why you incorporate mixed media.
Cate McGuire: I was really excited to receive this recognition. Making art is often such a solitary pursuit, and winter is a perfect time for buckling down and getting some work done in the studio. The Riverdale Art Walk is really the first outdoor show of the season and so, it is an opportunity, a kind of testing ground for all of the ideas that you have been shaping in that alone time. Getting some positive feedback for hard work is always encouraging…
The way that I am working with mixed media at this moment means collage. I have been using magazine fragments as a building material for the past few years, pretty exclusively. It has taken me a long time to realize why I am so drawn to magazine fragments. There are a few reasons. The first is their ubiquitousness. They are so familiar. We always had magazines lying around and I read everything in the house, but I have a special relationship with pictures. They stay with me… When I am working with collage I feel like I am moving through time.
I use collage in two ways. I make images that are spaces, framed with back-painted glass which makes them seem like keyholes into another place. Another way is to make objects out of collage that usually carve into a landform like a hole and sometimes they float in an amorphous painted space.
I am careful to use the found material in a way that does not in any way reflect the way the photographs were originally used. I only use images from popular magazines, mostly vintage, and I use only fragments, so that they have nothing to do with the original use or purpose of the photograph.
LCL: Tell us about your experiences with Artbomb.
CM: I love Artbomb. I have loved it from the start. I heard an interview on the CBC… Carrie Shibinsky , Jim Sheddan and Andrea Carson Barker had just started ARTBOMB and I liked the idea of a venue for artists that was outside of the typical gallery model. It is hard to get exposure, as an emerging artist and it seemed so immediate to delivery it daily, featuring a new artist each day.
I was listening to an interview with Moby the other day and he was saying that artists in the 80s and 90s had a very DIY attitude and he misses that spirit. I think that that spirit is alive in all of us who came up through that time. If you do not find what you need, then make it. Much of the arts function without a lot of resources, despite the great resources they ultimately generate. Galleries are very important, but … it may be necessary to work independently from that system, while you develop your ideas and put together a solid body of work.
Artbomb has sold a lot of work for me and I have really enjoyed working with Carrie as she continues to find interesting ways to promote artists. With her help I have been part of shows at the Gladstone, the Spoke Club and at several shows in corporate office spaces. Artbomb has really helped me gain some momentum, in terms of moving my career ahead, and I am so glad that I got in touch with them at the start of their venture.
LCL: You have a solo exhibition coming up at the Red Head Gallery. What is that all about?
CM: The Red Head Gallery, it is run by an artist collective, which I like for the same reasons that I support Artbomb. They have a beautiful space and while I was researching Toronto galleries to find a venue for a solo exhibition, I couldn’t help but think that it might be the perfect location. Luckily, they accepted my proposal.
Lost time (the name of the show) is made up of a body of work that I have not shown previously. I have spent the past year working on these collages which are framed with back-painted glass. It is called lost time because this work is all about memory.
It is inescapable. As we get older the world around us is not the same world that we grew up in. We move from home to home and the people are not the same people that we have always known. People and places come and they go, they disappear or they die, and change is ever present.
All of the personal connections that we have can be seen as spaces. They form in our minds. Some of them feel like home, and some don’t.
We hold worlds of images in our minds and in our memories. The things that we have seen, the experiences we have had and the people that we have known make up the library of pictures in the mind. Those of us born in the last century are fortunate enough to have had so many images and objects actually lying around to remind us of time that has passed. We have been and still are surrounded by media and objects and environments and they are each a perfect reflection of the time and place in which they were made and the people who made them. Those images become a language for talking about those times using pictures.
We have a visual literacy that has steadily been increasing over these hundred years.
This body of work is an attempt to build those spaces (people, places, memories, homes) and to recapture them, using fragments from popular magazines. Magazines are ‘old school’ media, tangible ephemera in an age of digital mist.
When did you start making art and how has your work or philosophy changed along the way?
I was the kid at school who everyone knew as an artist, so I can’t remember a time when that was not a part of who I am. I never really had as strong a desire to be anything else, until I studied architecture. I really thought that I would follow through with that - but I couldn’t get away from wanting to work independently, to be in full control of the projects that I wanted to pursue. What I love about art, that I have never found anywhere else, is that making art allows me to create a project and then to also be the one to make the work. It is challenging, but also exciting.
Being self-employed is scary, but it also really appeals to me.
Architecture school changed me in a big way. It taught me a lot about discipline. I had a wonderful mentor in the architect Patricia Patkau. She changed my creative process and gave it some well-needed definition. They work you like dogs in architecture school and you really need to learn how to manage a work schedule…
I work a full day, every day and keep to a ridiculously repetitive schedule, but it works for me. Even my cat gets neurotic when I don’t do exactly the same routine every day. It helps give shape to an otherwise kind of ephemeral occupation.
LCL: What are your objectives or projects for the near future?
CM: The work that I am making right now has a ways to go before I will have gotten to the other side of it. I would like to continue to make more work in line with what I have been doing. In the future, I would like to try to do some work with public art and I am thinking of taking some courses in media arts because I have always wanted to work with video/film. Artists like Christian Marclay (the Clock) or Janet Cardiff and George Burres really inspire me and I would love to learn code and move into making some pieces that are more immersive.
Visit Cate McGuire at www.catemcguireart.com.
If you would like to purchase shown available works, please contact Carrie Shibinsky at [email protected]