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Reader in Fine Art Penny McCarthy

Reader in Fine Art


Summary

I am an artist and academic with a particular interest in the materiality and experience of drawing. Central to my work is an interest in understanding phenomena through detail, exacting slowness and concentrated observation.

My research is presented internationally in a variety of contexts: in exhibitions, conferences, and as live projects and publications. I have had awards from the Evelyn Williams Drawing Prize, Henry Moore Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England and AHRC. Recent projects include Liquid Crystal Display (Site Gallery & MIMA), Picture Room (NY). Beware the Cat, a research collaboration toured theatres including RSC Stratford (2019).

About

I am an artist and academic with a particular interest in the materiality and experience of drawing.

My research is presented internationally in a variety of contexts: in museums and galleries, at conferences, and as live projects and publications. My work has been supported by the Henry Moore Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England and Arts and Humanities Research Council. Recent projects have been for Liquid Crystal Display at Site Gallery, Sheffield and MIMA, Middlesborough, Picture Room in New York, and Beware the Cat, a research collaboration touring theatres including RSC Stratford in 2019.

I received the Evelyn Williams Drawing Prize at the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize in 2019, and I am currently working towards a solo exhibition at Hastings Contemporary opening in 2022.

As Reader in Fine Art and Course Leader for Postgraduate Fine Art, I teach across PG Fine Art and lead studio modules alongside Drawing from the Archive, an elective module that explores drawing as fieldwork, as a form to witness history and examine the archive. I also contribute to BA Fine Art though lectures on visual thinking and artist’s archival practices.

My teaching evolves constantly through the impetus and energy of the students. Supporting artists at all stages to build their work is at the core of my practice. This aspect of my work focuses on connecting people through platforms that create empathy, community, discourse and communication.

I convene the Gravity Lecture series with Gary Simmonds and Andrew Sneddon. Gravity invites guest artists to present their own work in response to changing themes that reflect current debates. We work in partnership with Museums Sheffield and also regularly extend invitations to collaborators from other universities. Our guests have included: Lubaina Himid, Ian Kiaer, Jamie Crewe, Rebecca Fortnum and Jeremy Deller.

In 2021, I initiated oHPo (Old Head Post Office) a radio station for the art school that grew from conversations about how to be together during the pandemic. oHPo is a collaboration across the PhD and MFA Fine Art communities.

I am a member of Sheffield’s Making Ways Visual Arts Panel, working on projects that raise the visibility of visual art through a collective vision for arts in the city. I am currently collaborating on plans for the next Art Sheffield exhibition, as well as a research project with Sheffield University mapping visual art activity in the region.

Specialist areas of interest

Drawing, writing, archives, literature, history, time, memory, the image, material processes, visual thinking

Teaching

Department of Art and Design

Social Sciences and Arts

Subject area

Fine Art

Courses

- MFA Fine Art
- Postgraduate Research

Modules

- Art (MFA Fine Art)
- Drawing from the Archive (Art Contexts)
- Art Practice

Research

Throughout my career my research and my practice have been guided by an interest in the visceral experience of drawing. Reading and writing are incredibly important to me, but I need a sense of the tangible and the framework of my practice is an entwining of drawing and making, reading and writing. Works have been made from book pages and from digital sources that acknowledge the potent identification with certain texts that you experience as a reader. An on-going series has been a form of mimetic interpretation that re-makes and re-thinks the original text through pencil drawings that copy the originary work with exactitude to produce a simulacra or replica. Central to this project is an interest in understanding phenomena through detail, exacting slowness and concentrated observation. Following Walter Benjamin’s observation that his notebooks ‘give depth to time’, I have used drawing and notation to explore archival material including Walter Benjamin’s own ephemera, held in the Walter Benjamin Archive at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. This body of work starts with drawings made in the archive as a form of the ‘fieldwork’ described by Michael Taussig then developed as detailed paper replicas using pencil and paint. These small works are forms that mix observation and reverie, analysis and poesis. Hand-made three-dimensional replicas of Benjamin’s notes and fragments are reproduced as printed multiples from my drawings. I am interested in the gap of reverence and esteem around Benjamin’s archived fragments, held like jewels due to their archival instability, and the need (or desire) to grasp the object and hold it close in the hands.

My current project, Cloud falls in love with Mortal, focusses on picture-making.
In 2019 I received an award from the Evelyn Williams Trust leading to a solo exhibition at Hastings Contemporary. As part of this, I am currently working on a large series of drawings that grow from an initial starting point. The catalyst was a newspaper image that somehow coalesced the everyday and the sublime as a fata morgana mirage that looked as if a portal to another world had opened in the sky above Hastings.

This body of work began during lockdown, and draws on a constellation of images and texts I have collected that seem to embody concepts of apocalyptic knowledge. Alongside images of the ocean and the fata morgana mirage, the works include images from John Ruskin, Greek mythology, the Apollo 13 space mission, and images drawn from an early episode of Star Trek in which a cloud falls in love with a mortal.

Featured Projects

My research is available on the ADMRC website. See ADMRC site

Relevant Projects

ADMRC research

Gravity: Buckets and Jewels
Transmission
Shadow Book
Nothing is Forever - Lullaby Constellation
Time will darken
Penelope/Odyssey

Gravity is a collaboration with Becky Shaw and Andrew Sneddon
Render is a collaboration with Becky Shaw, Andrew Sneddon, Gary Simmonds and other staff

Publications

Journal articles

Mccarthy, P. (2015). Look no further this is it. FE 365 30 Texts for 30 Years, 26. http://www.forcedentertainment.com/notebook-entry/fe365-penny-mccarthy/

Mccarthy, P. (2014). Time will darken paper. ESOPUS, 21, 121-136. http://www.esopusmag.com/

Conference papers

Mccarthy, P. (2017). Macchia: mirroring images in the digital domain. In Eighth International Conference on the Image, Venice International University, Venice, Italy, 2017 - 1 November 2017. http://ontheimage.com/about/history/2017-conference

Mccarthy, P. (2017). My Fakes and Counterfeits : presenting on on-going workexamining the archaeology of the facsimile. In Internal Nebular Talks Programme, Wirksworth Festival, 16 September 2017. http://www.haarlemartspace.co.uk/projects

Mccarthy, P. (2013). Some notes on drawing and reading in the form of a common place book. In Words/Worlds, Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster University, 9 May 2013.

Mccarthy, P., & OConnor, T. (2010). Stealing Voices. In Hospitality: Transmission, Sheffield Hallam University, 1 July 2010. http://www.transmission.uk.com/

Mccarthy, P. (2014). Mirror: Time will darken paper, a picture essay examining mimesis through autographic practice as a way to transform our understanding of digital material. M.

Book chapters

Mccarthy, P. (2017). Mirror : time will darken paper. In Jaffe, D., & Wilson, S. (Eds.) Memories of the Future. (pp. 105-128). Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang: http://doi.org/10.3726/b11142

Mccarthy, P. (2011). Your space flight is leaving. In Brutalist Speculations and Flights of Fancy. (pp. 1-2). Sheffield: Site Gallery: http://www.sitegallery.org/archives/3576

Mccarthy, P., & Etchells, T. (2010). Dialogue 2009. In Corris, M., Joseph-Lester, J., & Kivland, S. (Eds.) Hospitality. (pp. 257-272). London: ARTWORDS: http://www.transmission.uk.com/

Books

Kivland, S. (Ed.). (2018). La Biblioteca de Babel. London, UK: Ma Biblioteque.

Theses / Dissertations

Eccleshall, B.D. (2016). Reiterative drawing as translation : Making, resistance, and the negotiated encounter. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Mccarthy, P., Kivland, S., & Brown, C.

Harrington, J.J. (2015). Process made visible - in and outside the object. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Shaw, B., Mccarthy, P., & Sneddon, A.

Internet Publications

Mccarthy, P. (2020). Esopus Magazine: Drawing Invitational. [paint, paper]. https://www.esopus.org/web_pages/view/42

Mccarthy, P. (2020). Esopus Magazine: Drawing Invitational. [paint, paper]. https://www.esopus.org/web_pages/view/42

Mccarthy, P. (2017). Macchia: working between two materialities. [digital app]. https://macchia-2017.herokuapp.com/

Artefacts

Mccarthy, P. (2019). Was ist aura? [Paint, paper, printed media]. ttps://blogs.shu.ac.uk/c3riimpact/penny-mccarthy-researcher-blog-visiting-walter-benjamin-archive/?doing_wp_cron=1595507905.3556380271911621093750

Mccarthy, P. (2017). The Art Classcommissioned drawing for Sheffield Institute of Art. [Drawing (pencil on paper)].

Mccarthy, P. (2013). Ulysses (Final Page). [graphite on paper]. http://www.derwent-artprize.com/ulysses-final-page

Exhibitions

Mccarthy, P. (2013). Ulysses (L’autre mer). [artefact]. FRAC Bretagne, Rennes France. http://www.fracpaca.org/article.php3?id_article=1952

Mccarthy, P. (2013). Ulysses (L’autre mer). [artefact]. FRAC Bretagne, Rennes France. http://www.fracpaca.org/article.php3?id_article=1952

Mccarthy, P. (2015). Personal Histories. [Artists book]. Redland Museum and Gallery, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia. http://personalhistoriesartistbooks.weebly.com/

Mccarthy, P. (2017). Folder. [Art works - pencil drawings and digital work]. Site Gallery Sheffield. http://www.sitegallery.org/archives/10222

Mccarthy, P. (2017). Folder. [Art works - pencil drawings and digital work]. Site Gallery Sheffield. http://www.sitegallery.org/archives/10222

Mccarthy, P. (2016). The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2016 exhibition. [exhibition with catalogue]. Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1 and touring.

Mccarthy, P. (n.d.). Folder. [creative output]. Site Gallery, Sheffield. http://www.sitegallery.org/

Mccarthy, P. (2018). Aura (1). Attercliffe TM.

Mccarthy, P. (2018). Liquid Crystal Display. [art works for exhibition with accompanying book]. Site Gallery. https://www.sitegallery.org/exhibition/liquid-crystal-display/

Mccarthy, P. (2018). Liquid Crystal Display. [art works for exhibition with accompanying book]. Site Gallery. https://www.sitegallery.org/exhibition/liquid-crystal-display/

McCarthy, P. (2019). Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2019. [Drawing]. Trinity Buoy Wharf, touring to Salisbury Museum and The Gallery, DeMontort University. http://trinitybuoywharfdrawingprize.drawingprojects.uk/index.php/news

McCarthy, P. (2019). Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2019. [Drawing]. Trinity Buoy Wharf, touring to Salisbury Museum and The Gallery, DeMontort University. http://trinitybuoywharfdrawingprize.drawingprojects.uk/index.php/news

Mccarthy, P., & Griffin, J. (2019). A Strange Weave of Time and Space. [drawing and printed paper]. Site Gallery, Sheffield and Usher Galler, Lincoln. https://astrangeweave.org/

Images

Mccarthy, P. (2010). Lullaby constellation. [Exhibition of Drawing (site specific)].

Presentations

Mccarthy, P. (2015). DETAIL. Presented at: Sixth International Conference on The Image : Media Materiality: Towards Critical Economies of “New” Media, Clark Kerr Conference Center, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, USA, 2015

Other publications

Mccarthy, P. (2019). Beware the Cat. https://bewarethecat.home.blog/

Mccarthy, P., Babbage, F., OConnor, T., Stenner, R., & Glendinning, H. (2019). BEWARE THE CAT (film). https://vimeo.com/347112463

Griffin, J., & Mccarthy, P. (2017). Project for an Exhibition, curated by Jeanine Griffin, Bloc Projects, Sheffield, 4th – 5th July 2017.

Griffin, J., & Mccarthy, P. (2017). Project for an Exhibition, curated by Jeanine Griffin, Bloc Projects, Sheffield, 4th – 5th July 2017.

Mccarthy, P. (2014). Time will darken paper. New York: The Esopus Foundation: http://www.esopusmag.com/

Other activities

External examiner at the University of the Creative Arts (BA (Hons) Painting, School of Film, Media and Performing Arts, Open College of the Arts)

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise research students whose research enquires explore a range of territories, including the auratic potential of exhibition making, the use of fiction to explore the past, historic textiles using digital making processes and using drawing in response to care pathways in radiotherapy.

Completed

Louise Wilson
Brian Eccleshall
Jerome Harrington

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