Elizabeth McGrath has an uncanny knack for making the dark delightful, the edgy accessible and the cold, hard facts digestible. Influenced by the relationship between the natural world and the detritus of consumer culture, McGrath creates tragic yet endearing creatures from a wide range of materials - including resin, foam, wood, ceramic, cloth, paint and found objects - often layering her narratives by hiding tiny objects and dioramas within.
At first glance, “Rabbit Tooth 1” and “Rabbit Tooth 2,” are just cute bunnies dressed in top hats and spats longing for human love. But on further examination each has an eye mangled by cosmetic experimentation and a ravenous human tooth in its belly. With sails representing the conquering of our world’s waterways, a series of animal head trophies appear to be dripping with toxic black oil. And inside the belly of a life-sized bisected miniature pony named “Boxer” alligators lurk, moss encroaches and waters rise as an unsuspecting swampside home is slowly claimed by Mother Nature.
While expressed with subtle differences, each of the seventeen works in Shadowless Summer is a statement about the condition of our environment, the ruthlessness of our behavior and the shamefulness of our accountability, cloaked in the beauty and whimsy of a lovingly crafted – and lovable – object. The result is an emotionally charged exhibition that charms, warns and challenges simultaneously.
Self-taught, McGrath has exhibited elsewhere in the US and in Europe but Shadowless Summer is her first solo exhibition in New York. She lives in Downtown Los Angeles with her husband Morgan Slade and their hairless dogs Blue and King Tut. McGrath and Slade also play together in the band Miss Derringer.