Alex McClay is a third year graduate student in Studio Art at the University of Georgia. She received her BFA in Photography and Sculpture from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio in 2014. She was a Core Fellow at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina from 2016-2018, where she studied printmaking, book arts and papermaking. Her current practice engages language, movement, and the body to question and disrupt the power dynamics present in our most intimate and vulnerable spaces. Her work has been included in multiple exhibitions and venues across the United States, including Weston Art Gallery (Cincinnati, OH), ArtSpace (Raleigh, NC), Haggerty Gallery (Dallas TX), Robert C Williams Museum of Papermaking (Atlanta, GA), and Marcia Wood Gallery (Atlanta, GA).
Boundaries protect us, but they are also sites of violation. This tension is at the heart of my work, which explores the power dynamics that underwrite our most intimate and vulnerable spaces: our bodies, our minds, and our homes.
Using language/text, the femme body, and a variety of unusual materials, I construct objects and experieinces that call attention to the lines that separate me from you and mine from yours. In a series of textiles, I use emergency blankets made of reflective mylar, pieced together to reveal words woven into their surfaces. The practical application for this material is to stay warm and signal for help in emergency situations. In my work, however, the blankets represent a symbolic means to an end, a protective layer, and an emblem of survival. Survey flags and survey tape used to mark and measure land appear in a series of textiles and installations. These materials are reappropriated and serve as representations of the invisible barriers that guide our everyday lives. Similarly, cement, most often used to build walls that protect us from the outside world, is broken down and cast into small pieces in a series of wearable works and video installations. In my work, these materials have been taken from their original contexts and transformed to communicate through embedded language. This language, often honest and vulnerable, offers the viewer a glimpse into memories of trauma - of moments when boundaries failed me and proved permeable.