Sean McCarthy's work is enigmatic, unsettling, and darkly comic. He renders the sagging crevasses and withered underbellies of a beastly world in a state of fantastic violence. McCarthy is an extraordinary draftsman with influences as wide ranging as early Paul Klee etchings and Himalayan religious painting. His primal dramas recall the 19th Century decadent tradition, which conjured a darkness far more vibrant than the banality of our everyday evil.
I was attracted to demons as subjects for a number of reasons. First, even though they show up constantly in the history of art, they seem to be rarely taken seriously as subjects of inquiry; when I was an undergraduate, I had to sit in art history classes listening to hour upon hour of comparisons between depositions or depictions of the Madonna or treatments of drapery or whatever, but when demons or monsters showed up (like in a Schongauer or a Bruegel), their presence was merely noted, sometimes
with a condescending acknowledgement that they suggested "imagination" on the part of the artist. (Now, as a participant in the contemporary art world, I hear a whole lot of approving discussion of "conceptualization" but scant [and skeptical] mention of "imagination.") I can't think of any attempt to develop a morphology of demons, or to unpack their individual meaning with any specificity. So I like the idea of presenting demons in a portrait format, giving them the same kind of individual attention one might give to human subjects. – Sean McCarthy
About the Artist
Sean McCarthy (born 1976, San Antonio, TX) received his MFA from Yale University in 2001 and has been in several group shows, most recently at One in the Other Gallery, London. He had a two person show with Nicholas di Genova at Fredericks & Freiser. This will be his first solo show.