PIERMARQ* is pleased to present Strange Like Me, an exhibition of new paintings by Ces McCully. This is her second solo exhibition at the gallery since 2020.
McCully’s new body of work is fundamentally rooted in today’s digital age, as she acknowledges the cultural impacts of an increasingly online society. Memes, mundanity and political opinions flood our feeds, shared freely amongst strangers in an endless stream of content. Her text works delve specifically into the culture of curated content, where exposing one’s vulnerability and authenticity on public platforms is often lauded, as long as it portrays an endearing and palatable character. In works such as Currently scanning for source of anxiety and I was not programmed for this, McCully’s signature lettering spells out phrases that read as private thoughts made intentionally unmissable, with a vocabulary that could apply to robotic AI processing.
The north wall of the gallery features an installation of colourfully printed posters with statements from McCully’s ‘True Selves Project,’ which began in 2019. Through an online portal, she invites the public to anonymously share “what you can’t with anyone else” in a safe space to express the thoughts that stem from our egos, insecurities and fears. The themes that surface are both deeply personal and at times, familiar, universal thoughts of a collective consciousness, underscoring the role that social technology plays in shaping our lived experience. CONFESS and Secret-Aire are oil and inkjet paintings on canvas displaying a functioning QR code in McCully’s signature aesthetic of painterly shapes and impactful lettering. The QR code in CONFESS allows viewers to submit their own thoughts to appear in the Secret-Aire piece, which reveals a dynamic portal of changing confessions that will inform future artworks.
In contrast to her text work, McCully’s abstract, geometric paintings are a response to the content overload experienced on a daily basis. The artist describes the process as “a meditative practice to counter the constant stimulation of our maladapted brains.” To neutralise the destabilising effect of such frenzied stimulation, she takes an intentionally minimal approach as a way of finding freedom through limitations, and the resulting work is profound in its simplicity, utility and elegance.
Ces McCully (b. 1982) is an abstract painter from Melbourne who currently resides in Albi, Southern France. McCully's works are characterised by the use of bold shapes, balanced compositions and vibrant colour palettes. In the past 5 years, McCully has exhibited internationally, across Europe and Australasia. Her work continues to defy categorisation as she explores abstraction, semantics and figuration through her unique, conceptual style.