Beyond Belief and Beyond Beauty (Kate MccGwire)

Have you ever seen anything more freaky than an enormous sculpture made from millions of pigeon feathers? I haven’t. Can you imagine anything more mind numbing than the act of assembling that sculpture? I can’t. Lucky for us, Kate MccGwire has a lot of patience and a great imagination. Her latest work is incredible. You have got to check it out! Read on.

I was tipped-off on MccGwire last week by one of my Twitter friends, @drawn, and I have been in awe of this talented artist ever since. To be honest, I cannot fathom what her most recent pieces look like in person. The photographs alone completely blow me away!

It is clear that MccGwire likes to ask questions about the very nature of beauty. Espousing a philosophy that it itself is chaotic, she shows us that “beauty can be something that repels you or makes you question the status quo.” I am not sure know how one could look at this London-based artist’s evocative artwork without asking oneself, “Why exactly do I like this?” Interestingly enough, neither can MccGwire.

The idea that beauty is a fragile cultural phenomenon is an underlaying theme throughout MccGwire’s latest collection, Heart of Glass. Stashing and sorting materials from hundreds of sources over a time, she assembled each of these pigeon feather sculptures organically. It is said that the controversial pieces evolved intuitively, as if out of the subconscious. I know one thing is for sure– they don’t emerge overnight.

Believe it or not, most of MccGwire’s art is born out of instinct rather than intent. She has a knack for transforming traditionally unsightly objects into indisputable sights of wonder. In an interview with Don’t Panic Magazine MccGwire discussed the irony behind her choices of artistic medium. It was interesting to hear where she gets her inspiration:

I am currently using pigeon feathers, as they come from a bird that is generally reviled – regarded as vermin and referred to as ‘rats with wings’.  I started to collect pigeon feathers that moulted from the birds in a shed next to my studio – I realised that they were actually very beautiful.

I can safely say that MccGwire is one of the most awe-inspiring artists that I have had the pleasure of discovering. If you would like to learn more about her style, her ideas, or her upcoming exhibits, head over to her website at

About the author

Yolanda Muchnik is the Founder of Aliveasart. A working professional with a passion for the visual and performing arts, she's got a soft spot for all things creative. In addition to ten years of formal dance training, Yolanda has experience as a graphic artist, a management and strategy consultant, and digital marketer.

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