Glasgow based Andrea McIlhatton Cardow works predominantly in screen printing. Her work focuses on solitary figures, often female. The images she creates convey sensations of beauty, stillness, silence and isolation, capturing a hidden depth within the subject. Taking inspiration from post-punk music, 70s Germany and French psychedelic pop combining this with classic film noir and 1920s Hollywood.
“Much of my inspiration comes from film, music, books and art. What impacts me are works like Charlie Kauffman’s films, David Fincher’s ‘Mank’ highlighting the beauty, excesses and emptiness of Hollywood, Kubric’s ‘The Shining’, Takashi Miike’s ‘Audition’ – from Ryu Murakami’s book and books like Will Self’s ‘Dorian’ and Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘Less Than Zero’. In these there is lyricism, poetry and horror with an intense, ominous atmosphere. There are elements of this juxtaposition of beauty and repulsion of light and darkness of joy and pain in my latest prints. For me, this is the genome of life. Mixed with this, much of what’s happening globally can seem unreal. This creates uncertainty and a sense of fractured reality, or hyper-normalisation, where there are ongoing feelings of displacement, disorientation and confusion. In my current work there is this sense of suspended reality or suspended being and an awareness of something untoward”.
Cardow has lost access to her studio throughout the 2020/21 lockdown and has adapted her practice to continue working from home. Fortunately she created her latest body of work before the most recent restrictions were imposed.
“In March 2020 at the onset of the first lockdown, my thinking was on the series I have been developing, ‘Paper Dolls’ and I have 2 new prints, both completed at this time. These continue the celebration of female beauty contrasted with certain social and cultural portrayals of women that this series explores. While this series will itself continue, it has diverged into the beginning of a new series, which is darker. The lockdown brought physical isolation but it also brought a certain mental and emotional isolation. During this period, I had begun to explore ideas that were perhaps driven by this. When the first lockdown eased in the later part of 2020, I was committed to bringing these ideas to print when the Glasgow Print Studio re-opened. This work is the birth of the new series, ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’. It is, to date, represented in 4 prints completed in November 2020 just as GPS was regrettably compelled into another closure. I have continued to develop this series, with new images ready to be subjected to the print process as soon as I can get back into the studio”.