On Foreign Soil

March 19, 2010 - May 1, 2010

  • Conor McGrady

SALTWORKS is pleased to present On Foreign Soil, new works on paper by New York-based Irish artist Conor McGrady. This is McGrady’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. Conor McGrady’s recent body of work continues his long-term examination of the role of authority in contemporary society. His large-scale drawings and smaller works on paper investigate how power manifests itself in symbols, iconography, architecture and the social construction of individual and collective identity within the framework of nationalist narratives. McGrady’s recent work draws upon situations of social instability, military conquest and the latent utopianism inherent in the myths and rituals that embody concepts of national territory. Epic panoramic landscapes are the locus of romantic ideal, sites of acquisition and incorporation, and repositories of the sublime. Monumental in scale, they are populated by ambiguous figures that contribute an underlying feeling of disquiet to scenes of mountainous wilderness and bucolic harmony. In smaller works neo-classical architecture embodies an imagined order, stability and permanence. As with McGrady’s previous work, these pieces pose questions on the various manifestations of social order and on the control of space, personal and national boundaries.

Conor McGrady was born in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, in 1970. He studied at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle, UK, before receiving his MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998. Most recently his work has been exhibited in the group exhibition, IK:00 The Spaces of Confinement, Casa dei Tre Oci Giudecca – Zitelle, Venice, 7 June – 24 August, 2014, organized by the V-A-C Foundation, Moscow. In 2002 he was selected to participate in the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He is editor of Curated Spaces, a regular feature in the journal Radical History Review and has published numerous articles in The Brooklyn Rail. His writing also appears in the books Ruminations on Violence (Waveland Press, 2007) and State of Emergence (Plottner Verlag, 2011).. He currently lives in Ballyvaughan, Irleand where he serves as Dean of Academic Affiars for the Burren College of Art.