Window Display at Ginza Maison Hermès
'This year the first window display to celebrate the 2016 theme of ‘Nature in Gallop’ at Maison Hermès is by the British Artist, Kate MccGwire, who extracts the unlimited potential of organic materials. Nature is full of binary beauty; while the surface may be alluring, there is always a darker undercurrent, a primal energy. Nature is unrivaled in its splendor, creativity, efficiency and function, but by harnessing organic materials, MccGwire uses the language of authenticity and turns it into something otherworldly.
Juxtaposed against the setting of a semi-derelict warehouse, we see carefully crafted leather bridles ready to be used for gentleman’s pastime - a serene situation which is disrupted by a seething ominous form that breaks through the corrugated iron background and punctures the aged floorboards. The physical presence of sculpture, the curve, thickness and volume look somehow familiar, its creases and crevices refer to us, our physicality, and yet, looking closer, it seems alien and strange. The pattern of the feathers are reminiscent of water, but also hair, its natural colours and textures make it glow with a sinister energy, the unedited colour of the rooster feathers transforming from one shade to another as you circumvent the piece.
This celebration of natural materials is central to MccGwire’s work, the process of collecting, sorting and embracing the materials is as important as the creation of the final piece. The method starts with sketches and imaginings of the work, but when it comes to fabrication, the unaltered colour and curves of the feathers are essential to the outcome of the final design, with each feather having its own intuitive characteristics. The rooster feathers in INCURSION for instance have numerous tones depending on where and how you see it, with potential colours of green, bronze, pink, blue and black depending on how it catches the light. This gives the piece its shimmering beauty, while the sheer scale and number of feathers takes a familiar object and transforms it into something unexpected.
In the smaller windows we see the rooster feathers used to describe a much smaller forms, alongside a series of works made with pheasant feathers. Male pheasants are very decorative creatures, with several different sizes and patterns of feathers in one bird. As a bird, which is farmed for meat, these feathers would normally be thrown away. But here MccGwire treasures each one, using each type of pheasant feather in isolation the unique design is highlighted, and even on a small scale this creates a striking presence. Even more enticing is the subtle difference in colours when it catches the light. While at first the feathers seem red, orange or brown, there are notes of green and purple – which we will leave passers by to discover.
In MccGwire’s work we are asked to pause and appreciate the beauty and truth of Nature that often passes us by. It reminds us that Nature is there to be treated with respect and reverence, and that we can rediscover ourselves by interacting with its potential.'