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Art finds beauty and seduction in glitter

September 13, 2016 11:31 A.M.

Monica McGarry’s work uses pop culture, kitsch and humour to challenge how people perceive and engage with images in the world around them.

A multi-disciplinary Kamloops artist, McGarry presents an exhibition entitled “Not quite sure about the glitter though,” in The Cube at Kamloops Art Gallery, Sept. 17-Oct. 29. An opening reception will be held Sept. 24, 6:30-8 p.m.

McGarry’s choice of materials recalls a childhood fascination with glossy and shiny objects. As we mature into adulthood, a fascination with eye-catching materials remains, though perhaps our desire to interact with them lessens.

McGarry delves into how this perception changes as we get older and how we can be drawn back into an investigation of our surroundings, beyond appearances.

Glitter, often a staple of children’s art projects, is used as the central medium in McGarry’s large scale painting, inviting viewers to take in the shimmering surface more closely. The text and interrogative titles of the work and exhibition wrestle with the allure of this material, pointing to an uneasy relationship between the experience of wonder and critical thinking as people mature. 

McGarry's sculptural installation, Fluttering Iridescent Ribbon, references American conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth’s approach to representation in works such as his One and Three Chairs (1965). Kosuth presented three incarnations of a chair including an actual chair, a photograph of a chair and a text panel with a description of a chair. McGarry treats the fluttering iridescent ribbon similarly, provoking the viewer to consider how meaning is constructed.

Her installation playfully addresses notions of beauty and seduction, and the underlying question: What is art?

Together, the works in the exhibition reflect on how people assign meaning to objects and relate to images in the context of art at a time when they are constantly bombarded by visual information.

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