Encountering Marie McInerney’s work one notices its fragility coupled with a pressing need to understand them before they disappear, something akin to finding the Dead Sea Scrolls or other papyrus scraps laid on a flat surface. While we cannot decipher the text, the timeworn remains convey a sacredness, a forgotten history demanding interpretation.
“I have always loved the archeological finds and remnants in museums, pieces of societies that don’t exist anymore, evidence of cultures or people that are displaced, through objects. I think we can only come to things based on what history we bring with us,” stated McInerney.
She asks the viewer to make sense of marks and textures that reveal nothing but imply everything; a mystery with no resolution but the satisfaction gleaned from a conversation with materials. She further explained, “My ideas arrive through material investigation, rather than I want to make this thing that looks like this other thing.”
McInerney’s process is involved, beginning with textiles crafted on her knitting machine, which she uses as a drawing medium. “You can create holes, lace-like patterns based on dropping needles or putting it (textile) back up on the machine and moving the material around.”
“I like the idea of artifact and the idea of uncovering and trying to decipher. There are so many objects that have a clay or material covering that you have to peel back to reveal the interior structure of it.” To that end she pours fine concrete mixed with black inks over the textile. The artistic result is more flexible, lighter than the materials suggest.
Diluvial Drawing 2 is reminiscent of a folded, collapsed amphora found, as the title implies, after a flood. On closer look the structural similarity dissolves and we see the delicacy of a textile folded, degrading, yet still structurally complete. We are shown two sides of the material. The “back side” striations caused by the setting of the concrete appear like cracks in a desert, while the other surface hints at ridges and a lunar landscape. The edges and holes where the fabric protrudes turn yarn into roots, concrete becomes dirt, a landscape weathered by time and exposure.
Much like a palimpsest, Diluvial Drawing 5 is layered with deep black marks across fields of concrete, cotton, gold and aluminum leaf. The surface reads like a deteriorating wall painting, the surface peeling, cracking under the elements. The aluminum evokes a tree trunk as bark peels away, the gold leaf - the scarred remains of a fire, a natural process. The broken edges imply frustration, as if the presence of the whole could reveal a profound meaning. Instead, erased or destroyed marks only hint at a deeper truth.
“I am process oriented and I learn through material.” That statement easily applies to Is Very Like a Shoal, a laser etching of graphite on paper. The vertical lines of the drawing hint at a structure that once held the “whole” piece in place. The laser cut gives the sense of a fabric that has been eaten away by an organic infestation. The remnants of graphite are captivating in their tonal variation.
McInerney questions the notion of objectivity when it comes to interpreting her work. The “gaps” in her concrete fabrics may bedevil understanding but invite individual ways of seeing. These are not static pieces.
– José Faus