McFadden graduated with an MA Fine Art from UCA Farnham in 2015. Her work ‘considers surface to surface and imprint. Trace and gesture also play a part. Themes of female strength, grace, feeling and A + B = C are at the critical heart of my research. Training for specific projects. Power and control. Exploring theoretical ideas of affect, embodiment and phenomenology. (The art) process involves performance and movement in the studio and outside in different sites.’
To see more of her work and learn more about the artist, visit:
Beginning in September 2015, McFadden started working with the London Bronze Casting team to develop and realise her winning Ingot Prize proposal. Here she talks about the initial stages of the experience.
‘My original idea was to make an assemblage of suspended casts. Sweeping up and around, a sculpture with height and large in scale, to meet at a point on the floor. Titled To Make Ends Meet, a study of stretch physically and a reflection of the times of austerity we are living through.
To train so that tension could be held during the process of body moulding, different sections of the body in various, stretches and holds. The moulds to be taken through the process of casting into bronze.
My work is about the body in space, movement and in particular the muscles. The meeting of the inner and outer worlds on a surface and the exchange of energy at those meeting points. Also muscular form and the female figure.
After meeting with Tom, Derek & Marcus at London Bronze Casting I realised that the sculpture would need to be scaled down to fit the brief of having the work exhibited on a plinth of a particular dimension. So reflecting on this I prepared several positions to take into the body moulding process. After discussing the properties of alginate, I trained with these holds in order to be able to keep tension in my muscles for over three minutes, the time needed for the alginate to go off. To aide my preparation I kept the positions using weights, so that when it came to making the moulds I would be able to hold for longer, as without that weight being present it would feel easier. I also kept my diet clean, linked my carbohydrate intake to my training, increased protein levels appropriately and cut out salt.
We started with a trial run by casting a hand holding a gym ring. This showed us that the process worked well with a wax mould, the detail of the tension was registered in the wax. For the body moulds which were to be made into the sculpture, the process was much longer, due to the alginate being applied in larger sections, in a continuous timeline. Mixing, applying, setting but catching the alginate before it was fully set to make a join to the next section so it would all adhere together. Tom Winstanley, Tom Needham (sculptor) and Derek Bayley worked as a team to make sure the process worked.
Having explored the look and feel of the alginate setting, I could see the colour change from pink to white and sense through my skin the altering material, so I could tense the right point on my body at the right time for it to register muscle tension on that section of alginate. Mod Roc was then applied and scrim & plaster which needed to go off before I could be cut out of the moulds. The whole process taking more like an hour, for each body mould, rather than three minutes. It was something of an endurance, with lactic acid burning some muscles, blood draining from other areas and cold setting in from the wet Mod Roc. The endurance would hopefully translate into the work.
The skill of the team, for instance, when cutting me out of the moulds and when removing delicate alginate moulds, without tearing the moulds was remarkable. And we had some laughter along the way.
Due to the more complicated, technical aspects of the process of making the moulds, the arduous nature of the holds, the time taken and the use of materials, the sculptural work adapted and what evolved out of the process are now two pieces, Power and Grace. These have so far been made into wax moulds. They are in my studio for working on and reflection. Tom says they will develop into exciting sculptures.’
Further updates to follow as work progesses.
McFadden's completed sculptures will be exhibited at Bowman Sculpture, London from 18 - 31 July 2016.