Ant Macari: 'Get out and troop the shape of a void'

24 Mar 2011 – 17 Jun 2011

Regular hours

10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00

Cost of entry


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Travel Information

  • St Peter's Metro Station
  • Sunderland Station
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'Get out and troop the shape of a void' is the culmination of a six-month residency at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, where Macari has created several new bodies of work. Macari characterises his work as taking "drawing as a verb - as an action that transforms and continues the world". He is interested in the pictorial languages developed to symbolize our beliefs, and the conventions of how drawings are displayed. Macari's is an "expanded approach to drawing which incorporates performance, installation and video".

At Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art we are led through a sequence of different installations created specially for the show. At the entrance to the gallery is what Macari calls a 'welcoming committee' created using casts from his hands, each of which holds an abstract, geometric, 'harmonograph' drawing, whose pattern resembles the shape of the universe. Behind is a room-scale, Zen garden populated by monitors in place of rocks. Each monitor shows the artist engaged in a repetitive task such as grinding pigment or brushing his teeth, in a ritualistic fashion that takes its cue from Japanese tea ceremonies.

The work 'Ruach HaShem (Brain of God)' is emblematic of Macari's recent concerns. It seemingly provides the missing link between Michelangelo and Gordon Matta-Clark. In the centre of the gallery we encounter a puzzling shape cut out from a wall, which recalls the form of Michelangelo's image of God from the Sistine Chapel. To enter the installation, we need to step through this God-shaped hole, a shape that also bares an uncanny resemblance to the right-hand section of the human brain*. Importantly for Macari the 'right brain' controls our intuitive self; the part that thinks in terms of beliefs, patterns, relationships and abstract thoughts.

Macari's work proceeds by creating intuitive connections or unseen patterns, to illuminate the structure of our beliefs. The ways in which we use visual codes to signify abstract ideas, from medieval heraldry to the mystical geometries of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are among his key concerns. They have resulted in works in which pattern, mathematics and classical references are intertwined with a dry wit and sense of absurdity. Macari asks questions about the hierarchies of the visual and written languages that surround us, and how we understand the world through them.

Macari has previously had solo exhibitions at BALTIC, was selected by the New Museum in New York, for their publication /Younger Than Jesus / Artist Directory, and has performed at Tate Modern. Commissions include Project Space Leeds, Locus+, Side, the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool and Leeds Art Gallery.


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