Cate McGuire

I keep looking for the story /short film for a hallway (detail) magazine fragment collage on cradled board with back-painted glass (black)    copyright Cate McGuire 2016 all rights reserved


the red head gallery

401 Richmond Street West suite 115

Southeast corner at Spadina

August 3rd-13th 2016

Opening Saturday August 6th 1pm - 5pm

Lost Time

Solo Exhibition – Cate McGuire


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) using fragments from popular magazines.  Magazines are ‘old school’ media, tangible ephemera in an age of digital mist. Many of the magazines these images are made of are women’s magazines and decorator’s catalogues that I have cleared out of my parent’s house. They are familiar friends. A kind of nostalgia is unavoidable.  They were in the bathroom, piled in the family room, and they lay on the coffee table and all over the house.

I was a kid from the suburbs.  I have lived a safe comfortable life in a country with plenty.  I am a mother.  I have a family and I work in my own home. Mine is a life that is all about living indoors and has often been about finding ways to connect to the rest of the world despite rarely leaving the house, sifting through the traces of what lies around, this everyday stuff, to try and understand this life.  Cutting and pasting pieces of magazines together I find that I can weave together themes that I might not otherwise.  This is not a random process, but because I am relying on what already exists, it is random-ish.  It’s like trying to make a recipe using only what you already have in your kitchen.

I had been building images with collage for years, but had never really honed in on exactly why this particular process meant so much to me. It has become a very emotional attachment and more than an intellectual exercise or a technical skill. Why it matters goes beyond exercises in geometry and spacial complexity, for me.  Way beyond. An image can move us through time, the way that a smell can take you a place and time in your memory. I believe we have that same trigger with images, especially because we are such an image literate society.  Maybe each fragment resonates with the time and place in which it was printed.  Recomposing familiar images is how I get to what came before me – as well as how I process what is going on around me.  It is also how I choose to build the future, literally.

It is more than that, though.

Each image is frozen at a moment where everything is integrated, inside and outside, indoors and out, thought and memory spliced, as well as time and place.  This is the landscape that interests me. There is a dollhouse-like quality because the painted glass frame acts as a hole in the wall, or an aperture, showing what is happening in the space on the other side. Then they are made believable, like a good story.