McRight’s work explores the psychological and cultural terrain between nature, personal experience, and politics. This process is framed in terms of her core subject: water and the lack thereof. More poetic than didactic, she uses provocation and metaphor to engage with one of the major environmental issues of our time.
Central to histories, mythologies, economies, and fears, the variety of meanings regarding this subject informs McRight’s practice across different media, expanding her initial focus on water as an environmental issue to encompass more nuanced ideas that refer to the body, circulatory systems of all kinds, ritual, the uncanny, sexuality, and marine science.
McRight exposes aspects of the conflict, anxiety, and humor manifested in our peculiar American relationship to nature in works on paper created with graphite and oil paint as well as sculptures and installations that appropriate domestically sourced materials related to water use. These include found objects such as vintage nozzles and sprinklers, rubber hoses, faucets, and used books as well as natural ephemera such as trees and tree branches. Ironically, there is never any actual water. The objects undergo transformative operations that abstract them while enhancing their realist core, such as being wrapped in black bandages and bound with intricate webs of thread. The resultant forms are alternately grotesque and elegant, gestural, poetically associative, and full of visual puns.
The ultimate meaning of McRight’s work resides in engaging viewers, while remaining elusive, in making poetic connections to the conflict between nature and a culture of consumption. The work points to the end of an era of willful ignorance regarding the environment, but makes no predictions as to the outcome.