Through her work featured in the GF Contemporary show “Meta-Tourist,” Kathleen McCloud observes her own responses to her 2018 artist residency at Chhaap, a workshop in Baroda, Gujarat (India) that offers opportunities to artists and printmakers interested in working in different printmaking media.
“The project I proposed for my printmaking residency focused on Mahatma Gandhi and the practice of non-violent protest,” explains McCloud, who has a background in textile restoration and weaving.
“Meta-Tourist,” which includes monotype and drypoint etchings, collage, large figurative paper constructions and paintings,” opens on August 24.
A lot of the work in the show was created on cotton rag paper made out of recycled garments that McCloud purchased at a small factory in Rajasthan. “At first, I wasn’t sure if it would work well with monotypes. But it did, and I love it,” she says.
The first piece McCloud created during the residency, which has an image of Gandhi’s glasses in it, is on display. While non-violence was foremost in her mind before she began her journey to India, once there she began to incorporate images referring to other themes, such as cycles related to turning and returning. Many of the images in the show reference people and things she saw during her time at the residency and travels throughout India prior to the residency.
Among her many deeply moving and profound experiences were the motorcycle, bus and rickshaw rides through incredibly crowded Indian streets. “You’re moving through a sea of humanity,” she adds. The repetition of imagery in a number of her pieces was grounding for McCloud, who saw the repetition of images reflected in her environment and in the artwork of students at the local university.
Some of the work in the show was created in India, but many pieces came to fruition once McCloud returned to her studio in La Cieneguilla, a small rural community south of Santa Fe.
“I’ve needed to reflect on my experiences, look at myself as a tourist,” she says. “India is such a complex place. What was wonderful for me is that I feel I got to integrate different parts of myself in India. In a way, India was the backdrop for my personal exploration.”
A special room in GF Contemporary has been set aside to host an installation McCloud has put together to enhance the experience of the exhibition.