Privacy Note: Source uses cookies or similar technologies to analyze trends, administer the website, track users’ movement around the website and to gather demographic information about our user base as a whole. The technology used to collect information automatically from Source Users may include cookies, web beacons, and embedded scripts. In addition, we and our analytics providers (such as Google), and service providers (such as PayPal and Mailchimp) may use a variety of other technologies that collect similar information for security and fraud detection purposes and we may use third parties to perform these services on our behalf. If you continue to use this site, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device. 

Source Photographic Review - Back Issue Archive - Issue 13 Autumn Winter 1997 - Review Page - Mary McIntyre - 'Fugitive Associations' was at the Context Gallery Gallery 13th September - 11th October 1997 - Review by Richard West.

Mary McIntyre
'Fugitive Associations' was at the Context Gallery Gallery 13th September - 11th October 1997
Review by Richard West

Source - Issue 13 - Autumn Winter - 1997 - Click for Contents

Issue 13 Autumn Winter 1997
View Contents ▸

Supposition: Once the smallest detail has been understood then everything is understood. The title of a pair of photographs in an exhibition of the work of Mary McIntyre. So we look carefully at the pictures in search of a small detail in the hope that everything will fall into place only to discover that the details make the images more intriguing. Looking at a picture of back gardens we notice how neatly everything is divided up by box hedges and the peculiarities of each rectangle of garden. Why is there, for example, a lone football in one garden and a goal in the other as if they have been forcibly separated and isolated from one another? Then we notice in the corner of the picture a football stadium where perhaps they are awaiting the return of their equipment. Meanwhile directly beneath us a man tends his plants with his back to us, keeping his vegetation in mysteriously strict order and the right hand side of the picture contains a greenhouse that we will see later in the exhibition from the inside.Once the smallest detail has been understood then everything is understood, 24"x 36" 
Once the smallest detail has been understood then everything is understood, 24"x 36" 

The cover of the Winter 1995/96 issue of Source featured an earlier photograph by Mary McIntyre; a peculiar image of a woman that had, with the aid of her trowel, planted herself head first in a field. These pictures while still wryly humorous do not feature people in absurd situations, in fact with the exception of the one meticulous gardener people are entirely absent. Absence is also apparent in three pictures of tables: in a room, a greenhouse and a yard. They are not particularly interesting tables and edge in from the sides of the pictures in modest fashion as if they are conscious of only having the role of supporting players, in all likelihood to an extravagant still life. There is however nothing on the tables and the title for the three pictures: putting the objects back in the inhabited world suggests the fruit, pheasants and silver goblets the tables normally present are being put to good use elsewhere. It may be interesting to see the stage set for once without the performers and we may smile that the inhabited world is enjoying the bounty we expected to see but we might also feel a little cheated.

The best works in the exhibition are a pair of pictures of an old, red, plastic bowl and a red, plastic milk crate lying in undergrowth. Though this may suggest extreme banality we discover from the title that one of these inoffensive domestic objects is a doppelganger, a double, presumably out in the woods to haunt its victim. Is the bowl haunting the crate or vice versa? Sitting under foliage, dappled in sunlight and behind a gate the bowl appears too retiring so it must be the crate, framed by branches and on a carpet of leaves. Has a milk crate ever been transformed into the threatening protagonist of a German Romantic folk tale before? If we all looked at milk crates like this would it have been thrown over the fence in the first place?

A carefully considered look at the conventions of image making and a comic perspective on mundane objects, Fugitive Associations is a stimulating and amusing exhibition.

Other articles by Richard West:

Other articles mentioning Mary McIntyre:

Other articles on photography from the 'Landscape' category ▸