Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2004, Kate MccGwire’s work has been exhibited in international exhibitions and museums, including at the Saatchi Gallery, UK; the Museum of Arts and Design, USA; the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, France; Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, France; the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany; Museum Ulm, Germany; Boca Raton Museum of Art, USA; and the Berman Museum of Art, USA. The UK’s Harewood House held a major solo show of her work in 2020 and she had a significant retrospective exhibition at The Harley Gallery, UK, in 2018. Kate's work has also been exhibited in numerous international art fairs including our award winning Material Shores booth for Design Miami 2022.
Internationally renowned sculptor and installation artist Kate MccGwire works in the specialist natural medium of feathers. The artist grew up in the Norfolk Broads, the daughter of a boat builder, and established her connection to birds and nature early on. After graduating from the Royal College of Art, she purchased a barge as a studio on a neglected island on the River Thames. She soon discovered a colony of pigeons living in a neighbouring warehouse and was inspired to collect and use their feathers as a conduit for challenging cultural constructions and perceptions of beauty. Kate now works with a small network of British farmers, gamekeepers and pigeon racers to sustainably source her collection; she meticulously catalogues and archives hundreds of feathers by size, colour and pattern in her studio every year.
When making her wall pieces, Kate rhythmically arranges the feathers by hand in concentric and linear patterns, inspired by the movement of water surrounding her studio barge. She highlights their intricately nuanced and magnetic colours, alongside the aesthetic and sculptural possibilities inherent in the material. Kate uses a variety of bird species, some more psychologically appealing than others – pheasant and magpie to pigeon and crow. The artist’s work, however, encourages us to find beauty in the very elements that we find unsettling.