POPP.005 – Penny McCarthy, Bedrooms published by Piece of Paper Press

POPP Bedrooms: Bedrooms results from a years-long practice. As I recall it now, one of the early experiments of my childhood- developed in almost abject secrecy- was an on-going attempt to invent maps of places as seen from an aerial viewpoint. Often made with an etch-a-sketch, my drawings would suggest buildings, landscapes, tree-lined streets and fantastical terrain. A key feature of these maps was about the activation of possibilities. I suppose I had taken the idea from the maps in the books of writers such as Lewis Carroll or J.R.R. Tolkien. I made Bedrooms from memory. Strange, it wasn’t until I made this that I understood that my private map play was a way to attain perspective on my own place in the unstable world of my childhood.

Encyclopaedia of Dust Research Group for Artists Publications

An Encyclopedia of Dust is now out of print, but a few copies still gather dust on shelves in old libraries. It was the first in a trilogy, of which Shadow Book is the second, and I’m still waiting to find time to work on the third volume.

These volumes examined the encyclopedia as a category of thought, reflecting on the pathos of believing that the encyclopedia might contain everything there is to know or that might be knowable. Both works continue to be exhibited in international shows. Ian Hunt wrote about Encyclopedia of Dust in Art Monthly:

An Encyclopedia of Dust moves between scales, species, and to areas of speculation that are not susceptible to proof such as waiting and dreaming. The overall effect is romantic sublime (…) you find yourself falling for it. An Encyclopedia of Dust is an authentically strange and monomaniacal work; looking closely, many of the illustrations seem to be drawn by the artist, not found, and that fact too is a bit scary. [1]

Information has been temporarily lost. The records will be updated soon.
[1] Hunt, Ian. October 01, ‘Thesubjectmatteroftenappearsinclusters’, Art Monthly issue 250, p 42

Shadow Book Research Group for Artists Publications

Shadow Book is an inventory that attempts to index a collection of fragments. I started work on this in Venice, writing and drawing in notebooks in cafes. Some fragments are notes about the history of the place, including references to Malamocco one of the lagoon’s lost islands, others are pictures, scraps, detritus. The book attempts to find an organising principle for material that has become dislocated from its original function in a narrative. There are pictures and drawings of Venice but also of other people in another time.

Venice for me seems to function as an alternative elsewhere in which time often buckles and folds. Although it was not intended as an exercise in nostalgia, somehow my first experience of that floating city offered up my past, spilling over, bubbling up. It is this sense of multiple times over-laying one another that I tried to capture. It was not only Venice I wandered in, it was the forgotten places of memory. The longer I stayed there, the longer this continued, as if the voices of my past were echoing against those calles. I felt filled with a kind of sadness I could not name but was disquieted by­–longing? Melancholy? I’ve returned to Venice many times since Shadow Book and familiarity has not altered my sense of it. Venetians seem to criss-cross the bridges to the past with a grace that I have only ever seen in cats as they weave their way between worlds.



168 pp: 28 il. col. ; 16,7 x 16,3 cm

published by The Research Group for Artists Publications, designed by Secondary Modern

McCarthy, Penny and Etchells, Tim chapter in Transmission Annual

McCarthy, Penny and Etchells, Tim Transmission: The Friend (chapbook)

Artist’s Project, Esopus issue 21

Esopus Drawings Invitational (2019)

Memories of the Future

Mirror: Time will Darken Paper, 5000-word illustrated chapter in Memories of the Future, eds. D.Jaffe and S.Wilson, pub. Peter Lang  (28 Apr 2017)  ISBN-13: 978-3034319355

La Biblioteca da Babel, The Good Reader series, ed. Sharon Kivland, pub.Ma Bibliotheque, ISBN 9 781910055465  Available here