On location with Chris Scott and Suffolk Shorts Judge Kate MccGwire

Is Kate MccGwire being stalked?

There is a running joke between internationally renowned artist Kate MccGwire and Filmmaker Chris Scott that he could be seen to be stalking her. Scott has been following her journey over the last year as she plans, creates and installs her work. But always at a distance, hence the stalking reference. Today he is following her through the marshes on the Suffolk Coast.

The Filmmaker as Voyeur

When Scott first approached the artist with the idea of a film about her process, MccGwire’s only stipulation was that she did not want to be interviewed on camera or featured in vision. Only shots of her as a fleeting and unidentified figure would be allowed. He relished the challenge and the concept developed over the period of the many months that they have been working together. The enigmatic artist may simply appear to flit in and out of this portrait film, but her presence will be felt throughout.

“Working with Kate is different from other artists I have profiled. Where most others see themselves front and centre Kate feels the work fills that space.”

Suffolk Shoot

We joined the crew near Kate’s family home in Suffolk, on a mission to track the equally illusive starling murmurations over the reed beds. MccGwire is hugely influenced by the natural landscape, and birds provide both the inspiration and materials for her work.

MccGwire’s work is never straight forward.

Her unsettling sculptures and installations might lull you into a false sense of comfort through their beauty and seemingly soft forms. But look closer and there’s something lurking beneath. The names like Cleave, Fissure, Liminal and Sominal hint at another way to see the work, but she’s never explicit.

Sasse/Sluice installed at The Dovecote, Snape Maltings

The Artist and film

“As with my early films, all my work encourages the viewer to re-examine miraculous natural processes that can be overlooked”

Film has always been part of her process. Early stop frame animations, created when she was studying at the Royal Collage of Art, focus on bodily transformations and movement. Whilst she has plans to return to the medium herself in the future, for now she must accept her role as subject. However removed she may become in Scott’s final film. If the film is as layered as the work, the enigma will continue.

Kate MccGwire joins the Suffolk Shorts Art and Performance Award judging panel in 2020.


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