My work explores the problem of knowledge and the limitations of Reason as a means of understanding both the internal and external world. In particular, I am interested in the mundane ideals that we encounter in our day-to-day lives, and how they structure our understanding of our physical, intellectual, and emotional worlds. In my work, I attempt to achieve these ideals through simple, repetitive, and labor intensive projects, which are drawn from the fundamental processes of science and mathematics: quantification, addition, division, measurement, mapping, and reproduction. The resulting processes — which range from the drawing of perfectly straight lines to the mapping of language and the body —are part lab experiment and part meditation. The work is produced as I attempt to perform these processes over and over again using only my hands, eyes, and basic tools. The resulting object stands as a record of my process of striving to achieve perfection, and having that desire frustrated over and over, despite the knowledge that the ideal was unachievable to begin with.
Days Series: A few years ago, I consulted an actuary to determine my life expectancy. Using the probable number of days that I have left to live as my starting point, I have been making works composed of over 20,000 repetitive marks in an attempt to represent the remainder of my life and comprehend my mortality. Like unconventional calendars, these drawings and sculptures both represent time spatially and function as contemporary vanitas. These works continue my earlier concerns with the vulnerability of the body, and the relationship of beauty to the imperfect and contingent. In their absurd attempt to make the invisible visible, the unknowable known, and the uncertain certain, the works also address our culture’s anxiety over the future and death.
Artist Bio / CV
Christopher McNulty is a visual artist who engages in task-based projects to create sculptural objects, video, and works on paper. He has exhibited work in galleries and museums throughout the U.S., including the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, Rochester Art Center, and Saltworks Gallery in Atlanta. His diverse art practice has been featured in many publications including Art Papers, New American Paintings, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and The Week.
McNulty has received many grants and awards including an Alabama State Council on the Arts Grant for 2005-2006 and Madison CitiARTS grant in 2001. He has completed artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Vermont Studio Center. A dual citizen of France and the US, McNulty holds an MFA degree from the University of Wisconsin and is currently Associate Professor of Art at Auburn University. McNulty lives in Opelika, Alabama and can be reached at www.christophermcnulty.com.