Thursday, June 14
Soo Visual Arts Center
The photographs in Paula McCartney's Hide the Sun investigate a landscape of personal experience through directed portraits, constructed still-life and natural elements abstracted from their larger environment.
Sunlight is the thread woven throughout each photograph, both in its absence and presence. It is absorbed by dark backgrounds during the day and vanishes in the darkness of night. The color yellow becomes a focal point for this series, providing a simulated source of illumination. Yellow is the most visible color of the spectrum. Next to black, it appears brighter than white, playing into associations with enlightenment and optimism but also caution.
Flowers bloom, ferns unfurl, in continuous renewal while hands reach out in longing, people freeze in melancholic thoughts. Trees and branches break, dying a sculptural death, more beautiful than when they were whole. McCartney raises questions as to what exists inside or out, what is day and what is night. Subjects emerge from the darkness and float on the surface of the photographs. Nature feels displaced in the dark night, artificially lit by the flash and presented as evidence. Shadows have more presence than the objects that cast them.
Paula McCartney makes photographs and books that illustrate her collaborations with the natural world. McCartney earned an M.F.A. in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and has received grants from the Aaron Siskind Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her work has been exhibited across the US and is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the artist book collection at MoMA. Her second monograph, titled A Field Guide to Snow and Ice, was published in 2014. She most recently had a solo exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.