HEATHER MCGILL, born 1954
Means of Self-Narcosis, 1995
McGill's sculpture projects into the gallery as if inserting is contemporary references into the content of the surrounding paintings.
According to McGill, because of industrialization we can no longer experience the U.S. landscape with the awe expressed in the 19th-century paintings. However, her work incorporates aspects of the U.S. cultural "landscape" to create a similar sense of the sublime.
The sculpture's shape suggests pre-industrial forms, such as an ancient chipping tool or the prow of a sailing ship. It is, however, based on the image of a rudder from a book on American submarines. She also alludes to popular culture by painting with the same material using to decorate hotrod and low rider cars.
McGill describes the paintings as having "a glowing core of illumination in the center." She captures a similar luminous quality by building her sculpture's surface from many layers of transparent paint to give the effect that the work glows from within.
To the next artist...