Ant Macari offers drawings to believe in at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art display

By Mark Sheerin | 27 April 2011
A duotone photo of the artist dressed as a monk towing a large white crate
Ant Macari, The Middle Way (2011)© the artist
Exhibition: Ant Macari: Get out and Troop the Shape of a Void, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, until June 18 2011

With a show connecting Gordon Matta-Clarke to Michelangelo and, it might be said, Nam June Paik to the Lindisfarne Gospels, Ant Macari seems to take the long view of art history.

A section cut from the gallery wall and a zen garden full of monitors may allude to the artists once based in New York. But the gap recalls a form from the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel and the Japanese Garden is echoed by an installation dedicated to Saint Cuthbert.

Visitors can actually step through the God shaped void and watch several films of the artist engaging in simple rituals on the zen-like screens. While the Northumbrian saint is represented by a mysterious white crate which, as another film shows, Macari once towed along a 60-mile pilgrim route. Odds are that too is empty.

Along with religion, the thirtysomething artist is also very interested in drawing. And semi-automatic works on paper are well represented in this show. It all suggests the hand of the artist, rather than the hand of God, has created our myths.

Macari, at least, has said that art creates a belief system of its own. In which case the culmination of his six-month residency may well tell us just as much as the traditional 40 days spent in the wilderness.

  • Open 9.30am-5pm (7.30pm Monday and Wednesday, 4pm Saturday, closed Sunday). Admission free.

Visit Mark Sheerin’s contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.
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