Andrew J. McCauley’s work revolves around the effects that diseases like multiple sclerosis have on the body and mind. Atrophy and decline of the central nervous system are formalized as he incorporates the human figure into a narrative landscape that acts as a metaphor for memory loss. His characters are caught in the experience of nervous and circulatory system failure and, ultimately, a total loss of mobility. Each is surrounded by the deconstruction and fractioning of archetypal memories. The playful, intentionally unsophisticated characters act as a balance to lighten the heavy connotation of their decline.
The story of dilapidation is linear and traditionally read from left to right; spaces between the panels symbolize the disconnection of the myelin sheath transmitting information, much like when the outer coating of a nerve begins to corrode. Amorphous, organic shapes that signify brain lesions creep in and over each panel, and along the wall, to reinforce the notion that these visual memories are being erased.
McCauley’s paintings combine two-dimensional dry media, including acrylic paint, watercolor paint, graphite, and ink with fabric and paper that are mounted on materials like wood and muslin. His practice of carving into the surface and mixing gasoline with paint pigments, then igniting it, give the work an aggressive and automatic feel. The stains left after ignition call to mind blood vessels or neuron synapses underneath the skin.
McCauley’s work provides a dark, inverted assessment of a body transcending into a state of complete system failure. A mirrored plexiglass sculpture positioned atop of a rotating device sits behind a 15 foot painting, and further personifies the act of dilapidation and degradation. Combining digital projections with moving sculpture offers a multi-layered view on the erasure of memory and the perception of modern painting.
McCauley was awarded his MFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design and received his BFA in painting and drawing from Ball State University, Muncie IN.