Jenny Mccabe flourishes in the dramatic possibility of printmaking. The challenge of the complicated process, the rules she can and can’t break, creates work that is infused with an exciting energy. This ensures the characters created on her metal plates are imbued with fluttering, jostling, frolicsome personalities that brighten up any wall.
The creation of these artworks begins with a sky-ward glance as she steps outside her door. For it is birds that flood, flock, and flitter within her work. Yet it is not the manifestations of exotic plumage within the foreign parrot or toucan she is drawn to, but the subtle beauty of a sparrow, the whimsy of a blue-tit, the majesty of a crow, the joyful flight of starlings. It is British birds in all their varied and overlooked abundance that Mccabe has dedicated her process too. Rarely printing the same bird-series twice, she educates her viewer in the joyful bounty of British-bird life: she hasn’t nearly run out of options yet.
The marriage of the print and the bird is harmonious: both deal in multiples. Mccabe’s flocks of prints are rhythmic repetitions that sing the harmony of plate and wing. Her ability to draw precisely the physicality of her chosen birds is important to the artist, however this is accompanied by her characteristic energetic style. Loving and labouring over each individual reproduction, she breathes life into the metal feathers with her decisive, quick, and animated mark-making. The use of aluminium equally brings a smokiness to the final image, meaning that each print is subtly overlaid with unplanned scuffs and inky blurs. Her birds are often caught in moments of flight, however, far from containing the movement into a static form, her technique and skill present the illusion of murmuring wing beats, the flocks susurrating and chirping happily within their frames.
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