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Historically, watercolor as a medium has been thought to be one of lightness and transgression. The painter John Singer Sargent used the phrase dolce far niente, an Italian expression meaning “sweet doing nothing,” for his watercolors of reposing figures that were an opportunity for artistic experimentation, while simultaneously reveal and revel in the more intimate moments of his life. Kim McCarty is known for her watercolors of androgynous, waif-like adolescents, in a moment of transition. In her new series of watercolors, McCarty creates her own species of “painfully sweet” (dolorosamente dolce) creatures—both animal and human—as apparitions staring back at us. Some of the works appear like shrouds, saintly heads floating in space, an ethereal homage of artworks past, and perhaps the artist herself.
Like blurry afterimages drifting past closed eyelids, Kim McCarty's watercolors hover between presence and absence, innocence and wisdom, and past, present, and future. Working rapidly, at times using only a single color and at others a haunting, bruise-inspired palette of acid yellows, greens, and browns, McCarty's portraits evoke the sense of uncertainty, ambivalence, anxiety, and loss with which we view today's generation.
A graduate of UCLA (MFA) and the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena (BFA), McCarty has upcoming solo exhibitions with Morgan Lehman Gallery, and David Klein Gallery. Past exhibitions include Kim Light Gallery; Cherryandmartin, Los Angeles, Briggs Robinson. Recent group exhibitions include, Sex Sells, Showstudio, London, Eve, Subliminal Projects, Los Angeles, LA Emerging Artists, at the Dominique Fiat Gallery. Liquid Los Angeles: Contemporary Watercolor, Pasadena Museum of Art. Erotic Drawing, Aldrich Museum of Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut.
McCarty's work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, UCLA Hammer Museum and the Honolulu Academy of Art.
Kim McCarty lives and works in Malibu, California