Davy and Kristin McGuire

BLACK FAIRY

2013

Holographic video sculpture


Courtesy of Muriel Guépin Gallery, New York, NY
What looks at a distance like a lightning bug caught in a jar, proves, up close, to be something more unusual. In their Jam Jar Fairy series, British husband and wife team Davy and Kristin McGuire reflect on the obsession to capture and control that which delights the eye but is ultimately ephemeral and perhaps even dangerous. Each jar in the series features a holographic projection of Kristin, a dancer and choreographer, filmed and captured by Davy, whose background is in a film, animation, and theater.

The McGuires adopt the image of the fairy, which was a popular subject in late 19th-century painting. While fairies in Victorian images had both freedom and power, here, the fairy is mesmerized by her own reflection, trapped by her vanity. The domestic jam jar equates preservation with confinement; and makes us wonder if, like a ripe peach, her color, flavor, and texture are diminished by the canning process.

The Jam Jar Fairies originally started as an installation commission for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which features Oberon and Titania, the trouble-making fairy king and queen. The play experienced a major resurgence in popularity during the Victorian age. With huge advances in technology and the classification and systemization of the natural world during the 19th century, the supernatural fairy seemed to provide a necessary touch of magic in a world obsessed with science.