Cathy McLaurin ~ New Hampshire

Share this page:, contemporary artists to watch: "Cathy McLaurin's work makes connections between history and current social issues, with a particular interest in notions of values, morals, national identity, philanthropy, kinship, and legacy. Through development of extended relationships with personal and institutional entities, combined with extensive research in archives and libraries, she works to challenge the systems that underpin complex social issues."


The North Wind and the Sun
By Cathy McLaurin
[Danville, New Hampshire]: Cathy McLaurin, 2016. Edition of 50.

8.5 x 11"; 71 pages. Printed on 80# Mohawk Superfine paper. Bound in 100# Mohawk Superfine paper. Softcover, perfect bound. Signed and numbered by the artist. Includes poster folded in glassine envelope.

Cathy McLaurin, introduction: "The contents of this book tell a story. This story is not the kind you read from beginning to end, but rather from the middle out in both directions. There will be gaps. I give you enough to show some meaning of the place as complex as what we call 'home'. This ever shifting territory is my hometown - but, it could be anywhere in the United States in the 21st Century when what people fear most is change. Change has already come."

Colophon: "The North Wind and the Sun was created and compiled by Cathy McLaurin and is part of an ongoing body of work. This book was designed, and originally printed and bound in a limited edition of 20 artist' proofs ... in the Summer of 2013."

Cathy McLaurin, The North wind and the Sun project: "The North Wind and the Sun is an engagement with and articulation of the impact of globalized economies upon and into existent historical, political, and social situations in a community in significant transition both economically and demographically - much like the United States as a whole. It is an interrogation of what meaning can be made of home when home is a distant place in ever-shifting territory.

"In 1986, the Townsends poultry processing plant opened in my hometown, Siler City, North Carolina, followed by a clash along the border of culture and language as Mexican, El Salvadoran, and Guatemalan workers - in many cases recruited across the border by the poultry industry – in-migrated to this town. Tension over immigration reached a critical point in 2000 when David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was invited by a local White Supremacist to lead an anti-immigration rally on the steps of Town Hall. This project unpacks the power dynamics at play within the embedded systems of economics, politics, and structuralized racism, while investigating what took place from the plant’s opening, subsequent 2010 filing for bankruptcy, 2011 purchasing of the company by then 35-year-old Ukrainian billionaire, Oleg Bakhmatyuk, and abrupt closing of the plant on October 1st, 2011.

"Two weeks after the closing of Townsends/Omtron - an event that eliminated over 1200 jobs in addition to the primary income of 200 farmers – the Town announced it had rebranded under the slogan, 'Delightfully Unexpected'. The branding compares Siler City, whose population is more than 50% Latino, and almost 20% African American to the fictional town of Mayberry (population 98% White), from The Andy Griffith Show television series, which was set in the late 1960s. Aunt Bee, a character in the show is featured as the Town mascot. In a place where police driver's license checkpoints targeting Latinos are conducted with such frequency that an underground text messaging network has been established to alert Latino residents, the Town’s attempt to brand the 'authentic' is one aspect of my larger research.

"Mining my personal history and that of my chicken-farming family is a method of engaging with and reacting to an industry in order to peel back its veneer, revealing networks, power, desire, and histories that combine with historical and contemporary issues of race, immigration, and agribusiness.”

Click here for video of Cathy talking about the project.

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Click here for video of Cathy talking about the project.











Page last update: 11.30.16


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