January 28, 2002
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Marlene McCarty

The January 28 New Yorker offers a lovely drawing (on page 18) by Marlene McCarty, an artist of extraordinary power who draws stunning studies of girls who murdered their mothers. (On occasion, McCarty does depart from her chosen theme: sometimes she draws girls who were tortured and killed by their mothers). The drawings are huge, intense, and magically real, saturated with light, so that the girls are literally transparent.

Somehow, McCarty escapes all sorts of road hazards: no Arbus-like flatness, no Alma-Tadema pseudo-saints, no Cindy-Shermanesque quotations. It is interesting how McCarty's theme park of beautiful young murderers provides an occasion, an excuse, for art. I've only seen three of her drawings, and then only in small reproductions (a shame: many of the originals are huge), but none seem really to be about violence, any more Victorian martyrdoms are about Catholic sainthood.

I'm almost tempted to run down to New York to see these at the American Fine Arts and the Keenan. Anyone know more about McCarty?