Visual artist Molly Erin McCarthy is currently exhibiting in a solo show in London as part of the Zabludowicz Collection ‘Invites’ series. A First Class BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate of Arts University Plymouth, Molly lives in Plymouth and has a creative world-building practice that responds to the landscape, folklore and history of Cornwall, particularly the Forgotten Corner of Cornwall.
In her new show Molly has created an interactive game space, miniature dioramas and sculptural works that transport her viewers into a hybrid environment that simulates an end-of-the-world outpost. The installation extends from a newly developed interactive video game, referencing reimagined landmarks and places in Cornwall and Plymouth.
The Zabludowicz Collection is a private art collection committed to producing a vibrant and sustainable ecology for art. It achieves this aim by building an archive of contemporary art, dedicated to the conservation and collection of new work by artists from the earliest stages of their careers. The Collection occupies spaces in London, UK; Sarvisalo, Finland; and New York, USA.
Much of the work created for the exhibition was made as part of a residency in Arts University Plymouth at the end of 2022. Molly worked with expert technicians in the arts university’s Fab Lab to 3D print miniature landmarks for the exhibition. Molly’s residency came about following her participation in a Give & Takeover commission completed for MIRROR, Arts University Plymouth’s public gallery and events programme.
Molly said: “The show takes inspiration from mythology and history and the landscape of Cornwall, specifically the Forgotten Corner of Cornwall, an area in the south east of Cornwall where I grew up, which includes the Rame Peninsula and Torpoint. To make some of the physical elements of the exhibition, I needed access to the equipment and technology in Arts University Plymouth. I worked a lot in Fab Lab Plymouth to 3D print the miniatures, taking inspiration from air-fix models, model railways and landscape design for Dungeons and Dragons miniatures. I also laser-cut sculptural elements for the shrine pieces, which were then constructed with support from technicians in the wood and plastics workshop. The experience of working in Arts University Plymouth again reminded me how much I enjoy being on campus.
“There’s something about the quality of life here that always brings me back. When I talk about Cornwall in my creative work, I use the region as an allegorical landscape to ask bigger philosophical questions. Visitors come here for glamping holidays and see only the beauty, but there can be a darkness and wild element that I also want to capture. I’d happily live here forever. I’m so glad that I made the decision years ago to quit my job in London and come back to the South West to study Fine Art at Arts University Plymouth. That was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Born in Torpoint, Molly lived in London for three years from the age of 18 before returning to the South West to study a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Arts University Plymouth, followed by a degree in BA (Hons) Fine Art. Molly’s recent work has included a British Art Show 9 Fringe Exhibition in Plymouth, State of Emergency at The Box and numerous online exhibitions with digital artists and collectives around the world. Alongside her practice, Molly has worked with organisations such as Plymouth Art Weekender, KARST Contemporary Arts and CAMP.
top image: Invites – Molly Erin McCarthy, installation view 2023 at the Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: David Bebber
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