VISION & VERSE
London based show exploring Williams Blake using Lambda prints.
Artist and poet William Blake provides one of the primary sources of inspiration for McGrath in this solo London exhibition at the Neville Keating Gallery. The exhibition (the series) is a remarkable combination of familiar images combined with cutting edge technology. The key to McGrath’s technique in these works is CAD (computer assisted design) which allows him to produce art as visual history. He uses three-dimensional fabric simulation software to literally fold different historical genres and narratives into assorted images that
are combined into a kind of 3D theater that combines photography, paintings washes and etchings. The result is a grand tour de force mounted on polished plexiglas.
McGrath says of these works: “The Plexiglas panels combine Baroque spatial theory with contemporary elements and an 18th century sensibility. These panels are not photography, traditional painting, nor pure digital art, and yet they are linked to them all.”
Blake, with his eccentric combination of poet-painter and very personal mythology, was a natural subject for McGrath’s own imagination which overlaps many mediums. In McGrath’s large panels (photo/paintings bounded to polished Plexiglas), he explores not only Blake’s
assimilation into these digital spaces but also the concept of “poetic influence”or misprions (1). First coined by the great literary theorist Harold Bloom in The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. McGrath has visualized this “misprision/misreading”(or italics?) process
proposed by Bloom and used it as a structure to reframe Blake.
The artist describes the final outcome: “The Plexiglass panels combine the use of Baroque spatial theory with a modern notion of emerging elements and layered imagery to create a visual density that is both contemporary and expressive of an 18th century sensibility. These
panels are not photography, traditional painting, nor pure digital art – and yet are linked to them all. The works literally fold Blakes genres and narratives (religious and mythical) together to create an intriguing contemporary image.” McGrath’s central objective in his work, is to explore and elevate paradigms for (visual) reading, to elaborate new slants on “old” traditions, to revivify the art of memory to selectively “free” ourselves from the daemon of Anteriority.
(1)“Influence means revisionism, deformation, fear and defiance: Poetic influence - when it involves two strong, authentic poets - always proceeds by a misreading of the prior poet, an act of creative correction that is actually and necessarily a misinterpretation. The history of
fruitful poetic influence, which is to say the main tradition of Western poetry since the Renaissance, is a history of anxiety and self-saving caricature, of distortion, of perverse, willful revisionism without which modern poetry as such could not exist.” Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), 30. Hereafter cited parenthetically in the text.