The Weight of an Absence

Casey McGuire

I orchestrate various elements and materials to construct a narrative that investigates the problematic nature of artifice and perfection. Recent installations explore the political dimensions of land ownership; the problem of foam, microplastics, and other industrial waste in our environment; and the fragile interconnectivity of the Earth’s ecosystems. Is our earth’s strata going to be created by our waste? What will rocks look like when we have to taxidermy them, a preservation tactic for precious non-renewable recourses? The mining industry is an act pillaging our earth’s crust, leaving gaping holes. Landfills have become acceptable acts of waste management. Covering landfills with lovely hills of sod desensitizes these mounds to create a pastoral aesthetic to camouflage our waste.

The Weight of Absence is an installation of Styrofoam salvaged from large box store shipping materials. The rock is all Styrofoam, coated in a crust of aqua resin. The mimesis of this sculpture draws a parallel to how much our plastic waste is part of our earth. How much it takes up and the precarious nature of this balance that landfills, and other obstinate activities to develop and make land “habitable” have played in the contemporary landscape. The smaller landscape sculptures take their outlines from a small rock from the floor of the Shedspace. I am curious what was the journey of this pebble, and how did it get here in this form, as a consumer commodity used for beautification. As a whole, these sculptures suggest lives and lands on the brink of collapse, yet still held together by threads of possibility and hope.

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Casey McGuire received her BFA from Alfred University and her MFA in Sculpture from the University of Colorado, Boulder. As the daughter of a taxidermist, from rural Vermont, McGuire’s installations grapple with ideas of conservation, perception and hope. She questions home, the damaging human impact on the environment, and the politicization of natural landmarks in her multimedia installations. Her installations have been published in Sculpture Magazine, and exhibited, at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids MI; 621 Gallery, Tallahassee FL; Terminal 136, San Antonio, TX; Staten Island Arts Center; The Zuckerman Museum, Kennesaw, GA; and Grace Exhibition Space, NYC, NY. She has also been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center. Most recently McGuire is a studio resident artist at Atlanta Contemporary in Atlanta Georgia.