Members Show Featured Artist: Caitlin McCormack

Post by Erica Minutella

The first annual Members Show brings together three artist collectives from Crane Arts – InLiquid, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and Second State Press – to highlight the best work of their membership. Today’s Members Show featured artist is InLiquid member Caitlin McCormack.

Your work first caught my eye with the piece you created at Benefit v.13. Can you tell me a bit more about the process that goes into the intricately fascinating fiber sculptures you make?

My process generally starts with a drawing of the subject from memory, without reference, so as to create an apocryphal image. Using cotton string, some of which was inherited from deceased relatives, I use a teeny tiny crochet hook to construct a lace-like form based on the said image. Upon completion, the form is stiffened bit by bit with glue.

Can you tell me a bit about your time as a student at UArts? Does it continue to influence your work today?

My perspective regarding my time at UArts varies on a day to day basis. It was definitely a valuable experience; everyone wishes they had done things differently when it comes to college, right? More than anything, I was fortunate to recieve guidance from exceptional professors.

As a local alum, would you have any advice for current students?

I would advise current students not to obsess over creating work that is perfectly aligned with their major after graduating. I studied illustration at UArts and somehow wound up crocheting animal bones out of string, yet I still feel as though the skills I learned in school are consistently being applied.

I did a bit of reading on your blog and saw that you had a recent move from Chinatown to South Philly. Do you find that the different vibes of certain neighborhoods in Philly influence your current work? How does the reception to artists compare within the two neighborhoods?

Both neighborhoods are visually stimulating and have a lot to offer in terms of venues for artists. The area just north of Chinatown is kind of desolate, and as a constant reminder of entropy and decay, living there definitely affected the nature of my work, as well as my overall mindset. My neighborhood in South Philly is much different. There are people everywhere. Once I’m done unpacking my belongings, I’ll be anxious to see if this change resonates in any forthcoming endeavors.

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What are you up to now, and what do you have in the works for the near future?

At the moment I’m working on a wall-mounted set of conjoined stag skulls. I’m also trying to figure out how to get my wrist to stop clicking when I crochet.

Can you tell me a bit more about the piece you’ll have in the Members Show?

The piece I’m including in the members’ show was constructed following multiple deaths in my family. During that time, I was engrossed in Gunter Grass’ novel The Rat. I also saw a rat in my courtyard.

What has your experience as an InLiquid member been like so far?

As an InLiquid member, I have definitely been exposed to an influx of great opportunities that I otherwise would not have been aware of. I really enjoy being able to access images of works by so many local artists in one place, as well.

What are you hoping audiences will take away from the collaborative Members Show?

I’m not even sure what to expect as far as the Members Show is concerned. Considering the formidable range of talented artists involved, I’m sure it will be awesome.

The Members Show runs August 3 – 24 at the Icebox Project Space at Crane Arts, 1400 N. American Street. There will be an opening reception Second Thursday, August 8, 6 – 9 pm.

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