As The Eyes Close We Lose Sight – from Michael McCardwell’s “The Death Snake.”
Michael McCardwell’s drawings are dense in their collective linear construction yet loose enough to clearly communicate the fantastical imagery. The artist plays with our expectations by drafting forms that are highly suggestive of spaceships – science fiction forms from a bygone era in which stalwart heroes with bulbous ray guns occupied the galaxy. His forms conjoin to form larger, interconnected spaces, and at times, a long, snake-like shape. It all seems very playful.
Yet can we be absolutely certain of what McCardwell has on his mind? The use of clearly defined line and shape in virtually every square inch of the field is also a formal academic exercise in composition, and in “The Death Snake,” his statement considers mortality in stages reminiscent of Shakespeare or Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Either way, there is an almost giddy emotional quality to these pieces, and perhaps the one certainty is that, even in the darker themes, this artist seems to find joy in his work.
Besides being a studio art and humanities teacher for 27 years at Henry County High School, McCardwell has taught art at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System campus in Shelbyville, Spalding University in Louisville, at the former Shelbyville branch of Lindsey Wilson College, and taught basic skills such as reading, math and English at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange. He was twice a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow.
McCardwell has work in private collections in the United States, Europe and Japan, and has been accepted into juried shows in California, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Hometown: Shelbyville, Kentucky
Education: BFA Murray State University, Kentucky, 1971; MA (Drawing), Morehead State University, Kentucky, 1974
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.