Saturday, August 4, 2007

Mick McGinty: Spice Caddy

Introduction
Mick McGinty focuses on two different genres, one being landscapes, some of which depict the artist's surroundings, the other still life, including fruit and vegetables, as well as kitchen utensils. A common thread passes through many of McGinty's paintings: splashes of the brightest light, dominating particular areas of a given piece. This feature radically vivifies his work, but in a contrasting way. While the landscapes assume a magical, untouched quality, the kitchen utensils appear hackneyed, as if oiled by countless human fingerprints. In the latter case,McGinty manages to instill a certain look, which will be best defined as one of a modern era: personally, I get a strong fifties vibe (early Coca-Cola posters). This notable characteristic is furthermore forwarded by the glossy palette.
McGinty scales his landscapes monumentally; he respects space and doesn't flinch from wide perspectives. I admire how the artist intuits the ideal scenery and, he practically imbues his renderings of it with a tourist appeal. However, I prefer the more intimate representations of forests and creeks. I think they allow for more individual expression and interpretation, which in turn make the artist's endeavors in that particular sub-genre appropriately absorbing. Mick McGinty lives in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, USA. He is a member of the Daily Painters Guild and keeps a website and a blog.

P.S. I have just read Charley Parker's review on Mick McGinty, and was pleased to find some similarities between my interpretation and preferences and those of the author of the esteemed blog (Lines and Colors). Considering Parker's reputation, I imagine that these similarities somehow enhance mine. Well, at least I hope they do. In any case, I would like to stress that I have become familiar with that review only after finishing writing this one.


This small object manages to pass on a sensation of a big space, presumably a restaurant. The multiple white dots on the metal and the glass represent reflections of light, coming either from several sources, or from a single one, positioned high above -- all of which implies industrial premises. In a way, the sheer number of reflections creates a visual noise that echoes numerous conversations mixed with a background music -- the usual restaurant buzz.

Considering the position of the menu, the caddy seems to stand off the table's center. In other words, it has been moved: such is the purpose of this implement, to be constantly shifted, pushed around, placed and replaced. It is a supplement to the table's usual setting. It is worth mentioning, thus, that this is still (along with the menu) perhaps the most steady of all other involved objects and subjects -- the food and the people come and go, and only the spices remain constant. This depiction offers a rare close up on a secondary character, which despite its supportive role, or perhaps because of it, provides an insight into the process, and eventually the aesthetics, of dining outside.

There is a possible humorous interpretation. The salt and the pepper are so close, as if to suggest intimacy. Indeed, if the metal ring above them would be of a wedding kind, the two spices could be viewed as a couple about to be married. Perhaps they can, if only symbolically (even more symbolically, that is), in a well spiced up dish. The rest is up to the viewer's imagination: since the two are bound together in a metallic frame that resembles a cage, one might draw unfavorable conclusions about such married life.

The detail with which the white jar is depicted is gripping: a stroke of orange, followed by a stroke of gray, followed by a stroke of white; in a way, since there is no gradation, the painter reveals how he works to produce a visual effect. This is a map of colors, with each territory reflecting a respective hue: that of the table, the metal and the light. A fascinating study in iridescence, it keeps me almost hypnotized. If, when eating out, you ever experienced the urge to play with the utensils, but felt uneasy to follow the impulse, -- here the artist provides you with a fine substitute. Just be careful not to eat with your eyes...

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