CAROLINE MCQUARRIE. I Think I Was Blind Before I Met You. 20 February - 7 March, 2009

I Think I Was Blind Before I Met You combines photography and textiles in an exploration of vernacular family photography. Combining domestic imagery with domestic craft, McQuarrie utilises the personal and the handmade to question ideas of belonging and the connections that exist between people.

McQuarrie has long been interested in the objects used to maintain connections between people, and is currently looking specifically at objects used within families. In A Singularity (2007), she uses formal family photographic portraits, working directly into the photograph and embroidering over the cosy family scenes, re-working them in tapestry wool and embroidery thread. By literally sewing her family together, she is highlighting the artificial, constructed nature of these types of images. These works also engage with both the photograph and the act of making as a way of ‘making special’, and memorialisation of the idealised family life that these types of photographs engender. How To Fight Loneliness (Just Smile All The Time), (2006-2008) is a series which continues similar themes. Again combining the media of photography and textiles, this series comprises five pairs of images. Each pair comprises two photographs re-worked in some form of textile, then re-printed as a photogram (A photogram is a photographic print made by placing an object on light sensitive paper and shining light onto it, the paper stays white where the object shields it from the light). The first image in each series is of a home the artist has lived in, its pair is a group or ‘family’ photograph taken during the period she lived in the house. Questioning social constructions of both the house as ‘home’, and the artificiality of smiley ‘family’ photos, this work also utilises both media’s tendency towards elevating particular images and objects as special. In the final work This is The First Day of My Life, (2008-2009); the artist has created a large floor ‘doily’, incorporating iconic images from childhood crocheted in wool. Exploring more fully the decorative nature of both handcrafts and photographic imagery, the artist deconstructs the ‘surface’ element of both, trapping the children in the images in a large web of decoration and artifice.