THINGS ARE IN THE SADDLEDaniel MacCarthyPostponed Autumn 2021
This body of work for the artist's first solo exhibition in Italy with the Galera San Soda takes as its cue an obscure poem by Ralf Waldo Emerson. In the Ode inscribed to W. H Channing the author describes a still youthful America becoming emasculated through its own insatiable genius for artifice.
Things are in the Saddle (and ride mankind) takes a broad look at a variety of contemporary phenomena, from climate change and political protest to our relationship with nature, technology and capitalism. Things which we imagine are there to serve us, once in the saddle, gallop us straight for the cliff edge. Unwitting masters of our own demise we are seemingly unable to change course. The Capstan and the Galera serve here as allegories. Whether for perpetual growth- economies, a mainstay of the post-industrial West (and still orthodoxy in spite of its incompatibility with the sustainable and environmental credentials western governments increasingly pay lip service to) or the algorithms that will surely shape our future. Systems or technologies become like the golden calf, deities to whom we sacrifice our time, our liberty, our anonymity, our data. Meanwhile our so called leaders practice obfuscation and sophistry, smoke and mirrors, to maintain their position on the pedestal.
Made against the backdrop of the UK’s protracted and torturous exit from the EU these works offer a long view of processes that gather pace and become like an unstoppable juggernaut of self harm. In an age of fleeting imagery and digital overload the paintings resound with a strong material presence in pigment mixed with rabbit skin glue or oils on un-primed canvas.
Daniel MacCarthy (1986) studied Contemporary History at the University of Sussex in 2005-8 before turning to art. He attended the Royal Drawing School in 2009-11 and the Turps Painting Program in 2019. This exhibition marks a return to subject matter he first addressed as an undergraduate in his dissertation about man made apocalypses. He lives in Wales where he is currently artist in residence at the Sidney Nolan Trust. This is his first Solo show in Italy.