Archive for March, 2010

Cathy McClure’s Playthings

"Alligator" 2009, bronze, 2 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 13 1/2 inches.

"Alligator" 2009, bronze, 2 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 13 1/2 inches.

Plush mechanical toys, that find their way into the studio of Cathy McClure, are stripped of their fluffy faux pelts. Their exposed cheap plastic innards are disassembled and recreated in highly crafted metals such as silver, bronze aluminum.  McClure transforms the mass-produced machine-made toy skeletons to newly handcrafted framework.  The reincarnated toys often maintain their mechanical function. They are able to click, clack and gesticulate.

This work along with Cathy McClure’s other intricate metal projects has earned the artist much recognition and accolades nationally and internationally.  The Texas Tech University School of Art alumna has shown in recognized galleries, museums and entered prominent collections including exhibits in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Paris.  She and her work have been written about and displayed in the well-known art journal for her discipline, MetalSmith Magazine. And in 2010, the New York Times has twice covered her work including in T, the New York Times Style Magazine.

The reclaimed animal toys are but one type of mechanical toy that Cathy McClure repurposes. After receiving her 1995 BFA in jewelry design and metalsmithing at Texas Tech, McClure embarked on her graduate studies at the University of Washington and received her MFA in 1997.  As part of her study at the University of Washington, she started creating metal zoetropes.  McClure revived this popular 19th and early 20th century gizmo with her inventive prowess. Her zoetropes have hundreds of intricately constructed metal pieces that make up the moving frames and attached three-dimensional animated figures.  Cathy McClure is currently working on a new zoetrope. It is a very ambitious construction. Structured like a double Ferris wheel, the new zoetrope is ten and a half feet tall.