‘Tricks of the Trade’ is a solo exhibition by Jan McCullough that explores spaces of construction through sculptural installation.
The works installed across CCA’s galleries reference elements found in spaces, such as workshops, garages, factory floors and sheds – that the artist has encountered and photographed over the last decade. She is drawn to industrial places where others construct, assemble and make things, and the rituals and rhythms of the processes that define the work that happens in them.
The sculptures in ‘Tricks of the Trade’ are made of everyday building materials and wood and metal offcuts and are painted in the colour palettes found on the machinery, dust covers, walls and floors of the spaces in Jan McCullough’s photographs. Their finishes and forms echo the accentuated edges and glossy surfaces captured in the artist’s camera flash; the way they are arranged is reminiscent of her sketchbook collages.
Though the sculptures and structures in ‘Tricks of the Trade’ are informed by Jan McCullough’s photographic practice, photography is largely absent from the exhibition, with the exception of a three small black and white images of her grandfather’s garage workshop.
The sculptural works included in the exhibition vary in scale and arrangement, and invite the viewer to physically navigate them to understand and experience them. At the centre of ‘Tricks of the Trade’ is a large-scale installation that features a playful, nest-like space and fragments of functional industrial workspaces such as worktables and scaffolding, structures disassociated from their original contexts to evoke new narratives.
‘Tricks of the Trade’ is accompanied by a booklet with a text by Northern Irish writer Wendy Erskine, designed by Sean Greer. Commissioned by Jan McCullough and developed through a collaboration and exchanges between the artist and writer, Wendy Erskine’s text provides a unique response to the themes of the artist’s work and the exhibition.