sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI

Head Hand Foot by casey mccafferty lands at gallery fumi

 

American sculptor Casey McCafferty takes over Gallery FUMI with Head Hand Foot, his first major solo exhibition in the UK. Running from May 9th to June 29th, 2024, the show brings together a striking new body of work in carved wood and stone, revealing the artist’s craftmanship and unorthodox experimentation with natural materials. ‘I’m using my own primal urges, too. I don’t like to plan,’ says the artist, who works in wood and stone in his New Jersey studio, creating furniture and sculptures identifiable by their freestyle sensibility, totemic presence, lumps, bumps and facial features. Thrusting hands, popping eyes and jutting noses are all here: humorous but human. ‘My interest in body parts comes from ancient art, from Greek to Oceanic, and the way it implies a collectivity among people.’

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
Casey McCafferty: Head Hand Foot | image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Photo | all courtesy Gallery FUMI

 

 

an unorthodox sculptor exploring raw materials

 

Casey McCafferty comes from a family of stone masons, but fell in love with wood and its unique sculptural possibilities early on. ‘I would call myself self-taught,’ he shares, ‘though as I was developing my skills, I always stumbled onto an older, wiser person who could show me the way.‘ Now, the artist is the absolute expert of his own style, using a range of chisels and mallets – mostly highly customized with curly maple handles he makes on a lathe – to draw onto, into and around the wood; to gouge it and shape it and chisel away at it, all to create his soft and alluring biomorphic elaborations. His work, then, is an extension of his physical self. Improvised and spontaneous, even McCafferty doesn’t know where a piece will end up. His inspiration includes renowned artists like Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi, and Barbara Hepworth. 

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio

 

 

between mythology, human anatomy, sculpture, and furniture

 

Merging characters and motifs from mythologies with organic forms and often incorporating elements of human anatomy, the hand carved pieces at Gallery FUMI intertwine contemporary and ancient narratives to explore our interconnectedness, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries. Casey McCafferty’s bold, multidimensional designs for Head Hand Foot methodically fuse furniture design and sculptural art. Standout works in stone and wood include the Cairn Table from walnut and soapstone, a non-functional totemic sculpture made from oiled walnut paired with limestone, and a coffee table in ash which the artist has oxidized to create a greyish weathered finish. With this bold combination of materials, he takes on new challenges, experimenting here with different skill sets to achieve new contrasts of texture and color. 

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio

 

 

As part of Head Hand Foot, McCafferty reveals a series of cabinets for the first time since he walked away from his role as a provider of high-end furniture for architectural interiors. ‘The cabinets I am creating now are a 360-degree canvas, with figurative features on all sides, and even in the interior,he explains. ‘I am carving every facet.’ Like a sculpture, they are made to be seen front, back, and side. And then there are mirror frames. Sensual and shapely, they recall a Picasso guitar, or Man Ray’s Violin d’Ingres. Here, the artist sometimes allows the outline form to speak for itself, while other frames are alive with carving: bulges, handles, and details that teeter on the brink of figurative and abstract. 

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio

 

 

 

Nature, though, is never far away. McCafferty plays his materials, transforming wood into softly rounded pebbles for his suspended Hag Stones sculpture. A string of clustered forms, natural wooden colors – ash, red elm, butternut, walnut, white oak, grey – mingle like stones on a beach. Slender Cairn totems, carved from pale ash, and looking as soft as soap, or limestone eroded by water, reach over two meters high. ‘We are drawn to Casey’s work for his instinctive, almost primal approach to sculpture. He carves everything by hand in his studio, and pulls from a timeless, universal language. His works honour the inherent beauty of his chosen materials, whilst blending with contemporary experimentation,’ conclude FUMI founders Sam Pratt and Valerio Capo 

 

McCafferty has certainly marked out his own artistic territory, though he would acknowledge the influence of predecessors of the American Studio Craft movement, including JB Blunk and Wendell Castle. His pieces have found a place beside theirs in collectors’ homes and museum collections. You can catch the solo exhibition until June 29th, 2024 at the gallery on Hay hill in London. 

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
Gaeta Cabinet High (2024) | sandblasted ash | image © Casey McCafferty

head-hand-foot-designboom-full-5

image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
Sculptural Bed Side Table (2024) | oiled walnut | image © the artist

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
Head Hand Foot (2024) | walnut and limestone | image © the artist

head-hand-foot-designboom-full-7

017 Bench (2024) | oiled red cedar | image © the artist

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
Cairn Chair (2024) | sandblasted ash, soapstone | image © the artist

sculptor casey mccafferty explores mythological motifs and human anatomy at gallery FUMI
Hello World Table (2024) | sandblasted ash | image © the artist

head-hand-foot-designboom-full-6

image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio

 

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image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
Cairn Totems (2024) | ash | image © the artist
Cairn Totems (2024) | ash | image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
Throne Chair (2024) | oiled walnut | image © the artist
Throne Chair (2024) | oiled walnut | image © the artist
Byzantium Side Table (2024) | oiled walnut, travertine | image © the artist
Byzantium Side Table (2024) | oiled walnut, travertine | image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
Gaeta Cabinet, low (2024) | oxidized oak  image © the artist
Gaeta Cabinet, low (2024) | oxidized oak image © the artist
image © the artist
image © the artist
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © Tom Wright / Penguins Egg Studio
image © the artist
image © the artist

project info:

 

name: Head Hand Foot

location: Gallery FUMI, 2-3 Hay Hill, London | @gallery_fumi

artist / designer: Casey McCafferty@casey__mccafferty

viewing dates: May 9th – June 29th, 2024

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