About the Artist

Mandy McCartin's work has always been concerned with human emotions and interactions in the urban environment. McCartin's working class background and interest in street culture has informed the imagery she uses and the way it is created. Earlier work by McCartin concentrated on people living outside comfortable “norms”, characters seen in the street and who affected her in ways ranging from joy to sorrow.

“I felt that paintings full of emotion and brushstrokes were out of step with the prevailing ‘conceptual-intellecto-boredom” vibe, so one day, in a charity shop, I felt a soft toy looking at me and realised that it could convey human emotion in a less direct and challenging way than the previous energetic works. That was the beginning of the “Toys” series. And, yes, they did appeal to people who found my previous work a bit too strong for their delicate sensibilities. And they reined me in and made me paint with more control.

Subsequent series of paintings moved organically along and McCartin wanted to bring the expressionism and the graffiti back to her work. She found watching urban animals fed her soul, and liked the way they were positioned alongside the 'crap and detritus of a big city'. She painted 'Squirrel', and the rest of the Urban Animals series followed. This series of paintings can be seen as a bridge between “Toys” and the “Urban People”.

McCartin has since started to make paintings of more exotic animals and endangered animals, surrounded and imprisoned by urban graffiti. Wild nature is being forced into a small corner by the burgeoning and uncaring human population of the planet. McCartin feels that humans who are sensitive and thoughtful are in a similar position to wild nature, that they are being destroyed by the capitalist clamour to occupy and exploit, stating, 'I fear for them, and for myself.'

McCartin's new work will attempt to pull together feelings about being human in the 21st Century.

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