2017 SECA Art Award Recipient
An undeniable energy imbues the work of Alicia McCarthy (b. 1969). Her compositions, whether painted or drawn, are constructed through a repetitive process of mark making, a sensitivity to hue and pigment density, and an openness to the distinct character of each gesture. Colors are never used directly from the tube; each is mixed just before application and determined by the preceding tone. Highlighting the imperfections of her materials, she embraces drips and splatters and does not overwork her lines or surfaces. She approaches her “positive” textile-like images (with filled-in lines) and “negative” weaves (with filled-in ground) the same way: beginning in the middle and expanding outward. She often incorporates friends’ work into her installations, including drawings by ORFN (Aaron Curry), a prolific and influential Bay Area graffiti artist who passed away last year.
Best known as a key figure in the legendary Mission School, Alicia McCarthy has been associated with a long lineage of artist-based communities. These communities have shaped her collaborative sensibility and preference for modest materials.