David McCarthy creates vibrantly colorful, expertly composed
constructions. His work combines carved and inlayed wood, organic materials, and
woven elements into compositions reminiscent of the abstract expressionist images of Jean
Miro, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. David has developed a unique personal style
through more than 15 years of experimentation with the elements of his craft. His complex
mixed media constructions are striking for a number of reasons. They are carefully,
even maniacally crafted. They make use of a wide range of organic elements, and they
are striking in color and in form. The work combines laminated woodwork, papermaking
techniques, carven and woven elements, feathers, bones, porcupine quills and other natural
objects into enigmatic compositions that are chaotic, and infused with symbolism.
His references are simultaneously primitive, classical, and modern, to the point where the
viewer is not sure of what they are seeing. His work has been patronized by an impressive
list of buyers and exhibitors, including the Whitney Museum, the White House, and the
Cultural Minister of the Peoples Republic of China.
David's works are carefully protected in thick Plexiglas casings,
without which they would quickly be consumed by entropy. Many of David's works take
the form of altars. The piece displayed here reminds the viewer of the threefold nature of
existence, with the earthly world suspended between Heaven above, and Hell
Many of David's pieces include laminated, inlayed, carved, and
polished wooden elements. The techniques David utilizes are traditionally seen in
functional wooden crafts like furniture, boxes, and hand-held utensils. David takes
advantage of the language of fine woodworking to build structural and aesthetic portions
of his installations. The inlayed woodwork in the base, and skillfully laminated
tendrils shown in this detail exemplify the fine craftsmanship David puts into his work.
Although abstract, David's works are symbolic in nature, and
remind the viewer of altars or religious icons. Then meaning of each work is
unclear, but most contain recognizable elements of folk and ritual art. Repeated elements
in David's pieces include cups and bowls, animal images, feathers, wands and staffs,
tendrils, branches, and spheres, usually encased in or embellishing a trestle or
This intricate bowl defies definition. Is it a cup, a
ladle, a totemic sculpture? David's constructions bring to mind folk carving, or
ritual objects that might be used in some animistic ceremony. Brightly colored
spheres, and tinted organic pods and bundles make the work seem vivacious and alive.
At the same time their sturdy framework and Plexiglas cases make them seem formal and
austere, like prized relics in a Museum of Natural History.