Stripped of clothing and rhetoric, Dan McCarthy’s nude figures are compressed into line and color to a calligraphic degree. He cites Balthus’s The Cat of La Méditerranée (1949) as a “near perfect combination of color and image,” an ideal that he carries forth not only in his watercolors, but also in his ceramic series Face Pots. Low-fired clay (with glaze and enamel) provides a deeply textured surface for the caricatured impression in Space Ghost #77, 2015. McCarthy is the author of several monographs, and has had solo exhibitions at the Anton Kern Gallery in New York and the Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam.
Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Anton Kern Gallery
About Dan McCarthy
Dan McCarthy’s cartoonish oil and acrylic paintings explore subjects such as mountains, birds, rainbows, fish, and scantily clad men and women with surfboards, skateboards, and guitars, rendered in a simple, two-dimensional style. He typically paints figures in thin pastel-colored washes on white canvases, sometimes allowing drips to run down the canvas. Images such as Deckhand (#11) (2003), in which a halo-like rainbow surrounds a young man in bathing briefs, are thought to be based on Catholic iconography, and in other paintings figures hold up their hands and arms in gestures reminiscent of Christ. McCarthy also produces word-pictures that spell out text, such as Strange Town (2013), an acrylic painting on marbleized gesso, in which the artist has crudely scrawled, “THE JAM” and “THE STRANGLERS.”
American, b. 1962, Honolulu, Hawaii, based in Brooklyn, New York