MARGARET McCANN   painter - writer
The space in my paintings tends toward horror vacui, probably from growing up in a large family. I also respond to foreshortening’s cubist contradictions - forms project into space while shapes stack up on the picture-plane. My fascination with scale dislocation, and with monumentality, developed in The Eternal City, where I lived 8 years, teaching and painting still life as visionary cities. Eventually I placed giant figures in them.

A Fulbright brought me to Rome to study depictions of saints and apply their strange fusion of the neurotic and sublime to portraiture. The project led to criptosanti and eventually headworks - self-portraits with the stuff of thought in architectural configurations piled on my head.

My recent work has been inspired by Atlantic City, whose ‘R. Crumb-meets-Antonioni’ beauty struck me as the quasi-anti-Rome: Both have small-scale visual drama and self-conscious architecture, yet Roman monuments epitomize the heroic function of architecture to endure, while AC's structures last only as long as their frivolous functions do. Atlantic City has surprisingly poetic vistas, but unlike Roman gravity, irony feels ever-present.