|Cathy McClure at July 11 CQA meeting.|
|McClure demonstrates one of her "bots" at the CQA meeting.|
|McClure's silver teapot is actually functional!|
The "more" turned out to be kinetic art, with a key initial piece being "Carnival of Life," a zoetrope [Sugg. see Wikipedia] involving placing the work on a rotating table in a dark room illuminated only by a strobe light. The viewer would see what appear to be elements on the rim of the table continually bowing down and standing up in sequence as the table revolved, whereas in reality all of the pieces were fixed in position. [A video of this piece in action may be seen on McClure's website: cathymcclure.com.]
|The toy market is measured in billions of dollars per year...|
|...and too many end up broken or discarded.|
|McClure begins the process of "de-stuffing" a broken animal toy.|
McClure cut away the fuzzy or shaggy outer "skins" of the toys (mostly animals) and removed all the stuffing, leaving only the plastic body skeleton and, most important, the battery-operated mechanisms that caused the toy to move and speak. In a lost-wax process, she replaced the plastic shape with metal--silver or bronze--with the aid of a small casting operation in Rhode Island. Some of the original plastic parts from the original toy are retained as a reminder of the toy's origin, an example being the flexible, segmented trunk of a toy elephant.
|The plastic "innards" of a stuffed elephant, above, and McClure's silver version, "Trumpet," below, with original flexible, segmented trunk and battery-operated mechanism retained.|
|Above, a stuffed bunny reduced to its plastic skeleton, and McClure's "Silly Bunny," below, in bronze (left) and silver (right).|
In 2006, McClure created a zoetropic piece titled "3-Ring Circus" that combines bots with other constructs, complete with appropriate music "that sets the tone as the piece lures you into a deceptively magical world," said McClure. [A video of this piece may be seen on her website: cathymcclure.com.]
|Above, scene from McClure's two-months' residency in New York, with the artist at work (below) getting down to the innards of an Elmo toy.|
|McClure's "Hokey," based on an Elmo toy.|
Not all of the toys she works with are reconstituted in metals. McClure had the pleasure of a two-month residency in New York where she had workspace and the equivalent of a "storefront" in which to create art pieces from both the "skins" and the plastic bodies of toys. The de-stuffed plastic bodies were displayed on shelves, and she made wall pieces out of assemblies of discarded skins sewn on canvas. Making use of the traditional "everything but the squeal," she went on to create rings out of the eyeballs removed from the toys!
|McClure sewed an assemblage of discarded toy "skins" on canvas for wall hangings.|
|A true "hairy eyeball" (above) made into a ring! Other rings, below, created from eyeballs removed from toys.|
|Above, McClure "de-skinning" one of 18 "Mickey Mouse" toys (below).|
|The finished installation of 18 "Mickeys," each individually hard-wired to a viewer-activated button.|
|Line-up of cast toy parts in McClure's studio.|
|A woodworker friend creates "rings" for McClure's "Midway" installation.|
|Above and below, stages in the creation of McClure's "Midway" installation for exhibit at Bellevue Arts Museum.|
McClure's "Midway" exhibit was featured at the Bellevue Arts Museum in 2011-12. She will have an installation at 1925 3rd Ave. in Seattle later this summer as part of the Seattle Art Fair.
|Above and below, McClure's "Midway" installation at BAM, 2011-12. That's her "Chicken" bot in the glass case, above.|
She is currently working on paintings for a children's book and--a bit mind-boggling--she is making plans to create a human-scale "Hokey" figure, based on the innards of the Elmo toy! It will resemble her bots of the same name, but at that size definitely will not be made in sterling silver! "I want it to be a balance between the artist and the viewer, between seriousness and play, between childhood and adulthood," she explained.
|An obviously hokey photo of McClure's planned human-scale "Hokey"!|
For more information about McClure and photos and videos of her works, go to cathymcclure.com.