Sikkema Jenkins & Co. presents The Enormity of Time, an installation of work by Marlene McCarty on view in the back galleries. The large-scale drawings reflect on the passage of time over the course of two multi-part works. While isolating their subjects at individual moments in time, the works ask us to consider broader histories.
In the mid-90s McCarty began her well-known series of monumental drawings, rendered in pencil and ball-point pen, of teenage girls who murdered their mothers and, often, other family members. One such subject, Patty Columbo, is featured in a four-part work. The drawings depict Columbo in a regressive temporal order – from her first parole hearing in July 1984 to the date that she was informed by police that her family’s bodies were found on May 7, 1976, with dates of her arrest and trial in between.
A second work, Hearth 2 (2010), explores a similarly disturbing event, but shifts the focus from the perpetrator to a site linked to the tragedy. The two drawings that compose the work depict a nearly identical scene of a clearing in a wooded area with an unusual circular form in the center. The accompanying artist-written narrative reveals the history of the site.
Marlene McCarty has worked across various media since the 1980s. She was a member of the AIDS activist collective Gran Fury and was the co-founder of the transdisciplinary design studio Bureau with Donald Moffett. Using everyday materials such as graphite, ballpoint pen, colored pencil, and highlighter, McCarty probes issues ranging from sexual and social formation to parricide and infanticide. A major survey exhibition of her work, Hard-Keepers, was presented at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin in 2013. Her work is in the collection of major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. McCarty lives and works in New York having studied at the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture and Art 1975-77 and Schule für Gestaltung, Basel Switzerland from 1978-83.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)