Kathy McTavish - count. map. pulse. breathe.

December 13, 2019 – February 29, 2020

view of opening of Kathy McTavish count map pulse breathe exhibition

View during exhibition opening with "Acer machine coder" in foreground (still image view); one of sixteen in the exhibition. 

view of opening of Kathy McTavish count map pulse breathe exhibition

View of opening with "Acer machine coder" (still) in foreground, and "Generative Textile Drawings" in background (coats on, winter in Duluth!)

Kathy McTavish - solo exhibition - Dec 13 - Feb 29, 2020

count. map. pulse. breathe.


“A frayed thread”: Whether the split wires of a computer circuit board; a single line of code from a spooling cacophony of code-driven conversation; a thread of cello or wind in a digital fugue; one out of hundreds of layers of digital shapes - scrolling on monitors and through projections (grey, then black, then blue, red, yellow); a circle stitched into fabric and batting and pooled chording; the tied ends of a loom-woven shawl/covering/scroll – this is the metaphor that unites and runs through the body of Kathy McTavish’s multi-layered trans/media installations.

A frayed thread. Thoughtfully examined for its own and unique beauty. How the texture of seeming “brokenness” brings a new and needed perspective. How a new perspective allows new code/language/understanding/communication to develop. How the quirks in the system point to things beyond the status quo functioning of the machine and allow for personality to develop, leaving gaps for joy, humor, surprise and creativity.

A frayed thread. Considering how some aspects of fraying may need mending. May need an appropriately placed knot - a tying together, a holding fast to each other, a striving to communicate across borders of language, technology, and belief systems. Systems that cannot remain unchanged must evolve or become obsolete.

With this new body of work by Kathy McTavish, Joseph Nease Gallery is pleased to present yet another thread in the tapestry of mediums and concepts that McTavish uses to communicate her particular concerns and interests as an artist. The subtext of the work includes threads of interest and concern that remain for the artist. Among other things: queer identity, ecological collapse, the creativity and inventiveness of the human mind, relationship between humans and technology, the future of the things we create (artificial intelligence). Perhaps AI can be steered toward generative and life-giving mutual understanding and partnership or queered towards an organic intelligence, an embodiment of the complex and rich ecological world.

Of her work, Kathy has said, “My work weaves sound, image, data text, fiber and code…. As a media composer and installation artist, I create chance-infused, open systems. Chance is a frayed thread, a stochastic cloud, a pointillist field, a variance, a complexity, an uncertainty, a ragged line. Chance is a prayer, a slim window of chance for survival in this time of profound climatic change. Evolution requires variability, chance and fruitful deviation. A system's ability to adapt to change depends on its ability to mutate, on trial & error & improvisation.”

Beyond the artist’s own concerns, a mystery of McTavish's work is that her installations also reflect the lived-experience of the viewer. Her computer-people become a metaphor for human-people. They render their visuals with urgency as if trying to get it right, trying to keep up with a fast-changing world - and yet in all of this, there is a sense of joy in the work itself, in experiencing the act of creating and working toward a purpose with a community of others. A sense of wonder at the beauty of both adhering to the map, encountering a frayed thread, connecting it again to the whole, and then starting again.

count. map. pulse. breathe.

We hope you made it to the opening on December 13.

Artist talk - January 25, 2 pm

See the Artwork Description link below for a brief description about available work from this exhibition.

Back To Top