Rosie O’Grady’s project May Day attempted to agitate how artist Margaret Macdonald is represented. In 2016, French educators Marie-Noëlle Lanuit and Jean-Claude Piquard created a giant clitoris-shaped crop circle to protest the marginalisation of female sexual pleasure.
As Glasgow marks 150 years since the birth of Macdonald’s collaborator and husband, architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, this project remodelled Macdonald’s gesso panel ‘The May Queen’ as a crop circle. Drawing upon a shift in the social and political history of May Day, it explored how crop circles might depart from associations with the paranormal and hoaxes to become a mode of protest and distress signal.
O’Grady uses video, print, photography, events and interventions to respond to social, economic, political and historic contexts. In House for an Art Lover, information monitors were taken over to show looped drone footage of the new crop circle. This intervention embedded Margaret Macdonald within the infrastructure of the house, subtly disrupting the existing narrative about its history. Information panels in the Heritage Centre, which describe the role of wealthy men in
Glasgow’s architectural and industrial past, were removed. Instead, works in this space revealed the production process of the crop circle. In Macdonald’s design for The May Queen, five women hold garlands of flowers about a central point. The crop circle production process mirrors this image with five women using ropes and tapes to plot the design in the field.
Rosie O’Grady (b. 1990, York, England) lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. O’Grady graduated from Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow with an MLitt Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) in 2015, and from Glasgow School of Art with a BA (Hons) Fine Art (Painting & Printmaking) in 2013. She was awarded the Open Glasgow Bursary for Glasgow International (2018) and was selected for a Graduate Residency at Hospitalfield (2015). O’Grady was a participant of Curatorial Studio (2016), and a committee member at Market Gallery (2014 – 2016). Recent group events and exhibitions include: The Driver’s Seat, Cubitt, London (2018); thats why i was trying to hit your unicast space, Glasgow Open House Festival (2017); Re-Casting, Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge (2016); Pokey Hat, New Glasgow Society, Glasgow International (2016); Over Over Over, Simone DeSousa Gallery, Detroit (2015).
Supported by Glasgow International (Open Glasgow Bursary Award) and The James Hutton Institute.