#Caitlin McCormack

Caitlin McCormack Crochets a Speculative Future in the Wake of Environmental Catastrophe

September 7, 2023

Kate Mothes

“Swim Team.” Photo by Jaime Alvarez for Fleisher Art Memorial. All images © Caitlin McCormack, shared with permission

From humble, crocheted thread emerges Caitlin McCormack’s alternate reality featuring tiny carcasses, encased objects, and mysterious figures. Ideas related to the cycle of death and life, mutation, and overgrowth permeate her work, most prominently through her ongoing series of skeletons (previously) resting on beds of botanicals, often arranged in groups as if a single event wiped them out simultaneously.

Through a speculative view of a post-human world, McCormack imbues her work with a sense of foreboding that contrasts the medium of crochet and its comforting, nostalgic associations. Her current exhibition at Elijah Wheat Showroom titled SOUVENIRS OF THE WASTELAND, a duo show with Kat Ryals, also considers ideas around tacky novelties, sci-fi, and the impact of textile industry waste.

SOUVENIRS OF A WASTELAND is presented through the lens of “a pseudoscientific museum exhibition chronicling the influx of strange new life forms that have appeared in the wake of humanity’s demise,” McCormack tells Colossal. “The concept explores our complicity in environmental destruction and questions what will happen to our trash when we are gone. Turns out, things will get real weird.”


“Libidinous Drifter.” Photo by Stacey Evans for Second Street Gallery

Increasingly focusing on freestanding, sculptural works reliant almost exclusively on stiffened, crocheted material, McCormack has started to depart from her earlier wall-mounted relief compositions. “In 2020, I started building assemblages out of found objects, carefully upholstering the structures with hand-sewn velvet and adorning them so that their surfaces grew heavily-textured with an abundance of fiber sculptural relief forms,” she says. “The crocheted cotton is occasionally dyed with natural pigments sourced from my surroundings during hikes and time spent in the woods at rural residencies.”

McCormack will include a large-scale piece at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee as part of Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse, which opens September 8. And at SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York, she has co-curated a presentation titled Come, Dance With Us and Our Dead in the Rainbows (If It Makes You Feel Good) alongside Heather Renée Russ and Christopher M. Tandy, which will be on view through September 11.

SOUVENIRS OF THE WASTELAND continues in Newburgh, New York, through October 1. Find more on the artist’s website and Instagram.


“Manicure at the End of the World.” Photo by Jason Chen

“Go Home Magna Mater, You’re Drunk.” Photo by Jason Chen

Detail of “Swim Team”

“The Only Witness to a Vanished World”

Detail of “The Only Witness to a Vanished World”

“You Know He Told Everyone.” Photo by The Wassaic Project

“They Come Back, But They’re Never the Same.” Photo by Jason Chen

“Prince of Nothing”

#Caitlin McCormack


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