Artifact Caroline McQuarrie
Lower Gallery Artifact Caroline McQuarrie
As Walter Benjamin states in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” reproductions of objects cannot represent the object’s place in time in space. We cannot make out their change in condition, or their physical use. According to Benjamin the reproduction of an object is inauthentic. And yet since this was written mechanical reproduction of both objects and images has become ubiquitous. Artifact extends McQuarrie's ongoing investigation and combination of craft based practices and photography in contemporary art. Both mediums have highly sentimental connotations due to their inextricable connections with memory.
The images in Artifact were created in the time it took for the flatbed scanner head to move across each object. Each scan comes out differently because of the movement and therefore each is a unique image. However due to its digital nature it can be endlessly reproduced. This reproducibility is a key aspect to the work as the objects that are being scanned have also been mass-produced. The collection of objects has been put together from items found in second hand shops and despite their similarity they were found in five different places, indicating the ubiquitous nature of this type of object. The style of the objects emulates the handmade, mimicking embroidery, and the text refers to the domestic nature of the objects, using clichéd messages to reinforce a "happy home" stereotype. The messages include: "Happy Anniversary", "A Home is a House With Love", "King of the Castle", "Lady of the Manor" and "True Friends". The mass production of the objects along with the clichéd nature of the messages wipes away any personalisation, yet it is the personal nature of the handmade that the creators of these objects are attempting to exploit.
Saturday 20 June 2012: Artist talk and workshop
Caroline McQuarrie graduated with a MFA from Massey University in 2004 and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. She is currently Senior Tutor in Photography at the School of Fine Arts at Massey University.