Paula McCartney ~ Minnesota

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MCAD: " Paula McCartney makes photographs and artists' books that explore the idea of constructed landscapes and the way people interact with and manipulate the natural world. … Faculty member Paula McCartney often uses her photography to explore the line of what is real and what is fabricated.

On Thin Ice, In a Blizzard
By Paul McCartney
St. Paul, Minnesota: Paula McCartney, 2011. Edition of 500.

10 x 8"; 36 pages. Saddle stitched with a die-cut soft cover. Offset printing. Signed by McCartney.

Paula McCartney: "Snow begins to fall, grows denser, and obliterates my view while exposing the cosmos. Ice shifts, opening a beautiful black void. A wondrous view as I begin my descent. All of the images in this book were constructed in the darkroom; a winter of my imagination.

"This is my ninth artist book that explores the idea of constructed landscapes."

Andy Sturdevant, Minnesota writer, A Word on the Weather: Paula McCartney’s On Thin Ice, In a Blizzard. : "Photographer Paula McCartney grew up in Pittsburgh and Kansas City, places that are cold in a completely different way than the Upper Midwest. Her latest book, On Thin Ice, In A Blizzard, is a series of photograms that draw on the visual characteristics of snow and ice in such a way that highlights the unsettling strangeness of the natural wintertime landscape. Its title strikes a note of menace – cracking ice, white-outs, impending arctic doom.

"Appropriate, then, that the title of the book wraps this menace in the relative warmth of two classic cold weather clichés. It’s a clever hat tip to the hackneyed language that we use to talk about the weather, and once inside the pages of the book, McCartney subverts it entirely.

"The photograms inside wordlessly capture the strange, monochromatic world of swirling snow and slowly forming sheets of ice. There is a sense of awe at the alien quality of the world in midwinter, a sense that captures that unreal feeling of stepping, for the first time, into a below-zero landscape in the darkest stretches of December."

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Bird Watching
By Paula McCartney
St. Paul, Minnesota: Paula McCartney / Women's Studio Workshop, 2006. Edition of 40.

10 x 8 x 1"; 26 pages. Twelve chromogenic photographs mounted on Rising Stonehenge 100% cotton paper. Printed text in Souvenir Lt BT. Written text in the artist's handwriting on Zerkall Nideggan sand paper. Endsheets printed on Canson Mi-Teintes flannel gray paper. Bound in olive and brown Iris bookcloth.

Paula McCartney: "I have combined varied natural settings with carefully placed craft store songbirds to create an enhanced landscape. This work explores how nature and fabricated elements can combine to create a scene that questions what is natural, and whether being so holds any intrinsic importance.

"For many years, I have explored the idea of constructed landscapes. Inspired by natural history illustrations and botany journals I have used the scientific practice of collecting specimens as a starting point for my book. The specimen labels, field notes and diagrams, along with the photographic recordings of my bird sightings mirror the personal natural journals that naturalists popular in Victorian times and onwards have compiled.

"This project came about from long walks in the woods when I would stop to look at the birds, but was always frustrated by the fact that they would be too far away, or moving about too quickly. I was interested in photographing them, but they would never land in an appropriate composition.

"I decided to take control, buy my own birds, and create and photograph these idealized scenes that I fantasized about, where songbirds perched patiently on trees as I moved through the woods. By controlling the brightly colored bird’s position in the environment, I am creating a more idyllic scene than that which naturally exists, and creating a new environmental experience for the viewer and myself.

"Rather than only recording what nature has to offer, I have taken control and adorned the trees with their longed for, but absent, tenants."

An interesting take on the concept of theatricality, of fiction posing as reality. Think of Audubon’s birds, the windows of Chartres cathedral, centerfolds.
$800 (Last Copy)

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By Paula McCartney
2006. Edition of 12.

6 x 4.5"; 26 pages. Book title, text and illustration pages letterpress printed on Pescia and Fabriano papers. Photographs printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper. Bound in blue paper covered boards with black cloth spine.

Paula McCartney: "Flock is a conceptual field guide to the wildlife of one Florida neighborhood. A page of bird silhouettes at the start of the book acts as the key to identifying the birds on the following pages. Framed by treetops and sky, eight birds are named in the street signs. The definition at the end asks us to reconsider what may constitute a flock."

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By Paula McCartney
2005. Edition of 7.

7 x 4" 16 pages with eight double page black & white photos on fiber for archival purposes. Gray cloth boards with bird motif on front board.

Photographer Paula McCartney catches a moment on a wintry day of a small flock of birds. In the distance we can just see the patterns of their flight across a gray sky. These several photos show the contrast of black & gray, of movement & stillness, of life & dormancy.

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a sort of universal presumption
By Paula McCartney
2005. Edition of 10.

8 x 8" eight page accordion book. Black cloth boards with title printed in silver on front board. Printed on Epson Enhanced Matte paper with archival ink.

because nobody was where they wanted to be in the first place

Paula McCartney: "This quote by Scott Bradfield, compliments the constant swimming and movement of the mackerel that I photographed in the Monterey Bay Aquarium in CA. I was attracted to their ceaseless movement, and wanted to create a book that reflected this instinct to persevere without always understanding why."
$600 (Last Copy)


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By Paula McCartney
2004. Edition of 7.

7 x 5" with 20 pages. Bound in blue cloth with paper title label on front board. Ten double page chromogenic (color) prints.

Photographic book by Paula McCartney of the fish pond at the San Francisco Art Institute. With her photographer's eye she asks the viewer to look at intersections of nature. Peering into the pond one not only sees "fish" but their world of plant and water in motion. Intersections of life.
$400 (Last Copy)


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Page last update: 06.03.18


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