crochet sculptures of skeletal remains and headless torsos by caitlin mccormack

crochet sculptures of skeletal remains and headless torsos by caitlin mccormack

illustrator caitlin mccormack has found a delicate way to realise her macabre drawings, employing the art of crochet to carefully render cotton sculpturesher complex abstractions feature headless torsos, animal-like creatures, anthropomorphic forms, fortress and church-like structures, as well as paintings rendered on books and original sketches.

header image: kindertide
above: storm of uncles
images courtesy of the artist



mccormack integrates experimental mediums, including cotton string, vintage fabric, ornate beaded objects and found materials. she starts out by observing a specimen in person or via images found in books or online, before drawing up a series of sketches from memory.





 ‘my objective is to render a form that has been distorted over time by my own visual biases and the warping of my memory’, she explains. ‘after that, I crochet individual bones and stiffen them with a top-secret slurry of glues, many (many, many, many) times, and eventually sew the hardened pieces together to compose the piece’s form.’





the sculpture is situated like a taxonomical specimen under a glass dome or in a velvet-lined shadow box, her startlingly macabre subject matter serving as a metaphor for the interiority of the individual. mccormack sees herself and the reproach directed inward from self-accusation. the skeletons represent a totemic of her experiences, as correlations to things that can’t be expressed or articulated clearly with words.



the see-through lace works epitomize the condition of being observed by the state or disturbed by other people, an outside world capable of inflicting harm. skillfully-rendered, skeletal creatures appear isolated and vulnerable, far away from other places or people, looking for a place to hide–solitary, otherworldly figures seeking to protect their privacy.




mccormack intends to create a feeling of unease with her crochet sculptures, depicting dark tropes to express a grotesque surreality. death reflects a dystopian vision portending a nightmare portrayed with each abstract sculpture. skeletal depictions of once-living creatures, or part-human and part-animal, give tangible form to the psychological brutality of an increasingly disquieting modern world.




this body of work is about making work, specifically the type of sculptures I’ve been so invested in constructing for the past few years. it’s my response to how I’ve gotten tangled up in a creative slump, and the expectations I’ve placed on my craft’, mccormack continues.I feel like opening myself up to being inspired by sort of vague, personal sensations has allowed me to more authentically explore other topics with my work, such as my struggle with mental health and the sheer terror of being alive these days.






an exhibition of new mixed works by caitlin mccormack will go on display at the paradigm gallery in philadelphia. a new series of sculptures explore a breadth of personal and public themes, topical issues ranging from privacy and mental health, to social media and the heartbreaking stories resultant of harsh immigration policies. entitled ‘see you all in there’, the exhibition marks mccormack’s fourth solo presentation with the gallery and will open february 22 and remain on view through april 13, 2019.



dolorem meum





see you all in there


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