Body Compass
January, 2006


Inside the gallery, McCafferty constructed a new floor (on a raised platform) and created a large cosmogram drawing on the floor's surface. This cosmogram relates specific geographical directions to various spiritual life-forces, forces of nature, phases of life, and also serves as a diagram for ritual/performance activity. A magenta human sculpture also occupies the installation as a sculptural stand-in for McCafferty's presence and “a needle" for Body Compass. In addition, McCafferty also exhibits photos from his Body Compass performance(s) and earth drawings (1976 and 2005) and two photographs of his site-specific project, Invasives! Red and Yellow Alert (Bainbridge Island, Washington, 2003).

McCafferty exhibits his work nationally and internationally and his work is in various collections, private and public. In addition, he has worked on numerous commissioned public art projects and outdoor sculpture throughout the Northwest.

Selected Exhibitions include:
Soil 10 Year Anniversary, Soil Gallery, Group Exhibition, Seattle, WA, 2005
Art In the Meadow, outdoor sculpture exhibition, Bainbridge Island, WA, 2003
HorseHead, city-wide international outdoor sculpture exhibition,
Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1999
HorseHead, International outdoor sculpture exhibition, Seattle, WA, 1998



Fitting in. Finding the line that already exists at a site, and pointing it out. Using my body to register and drive the line. In turn, the sculpture drives the movement of my body.

Ancient megalithic sites, the stony bones on the landscape of the British Isles and Brittany were formal gathering places. Fields where cultures long forgotten feasted, prayed, celebrated together and recalled the spirits of their ancestors. Those mounds and stone circles are the sculptural remains of prehistoric performances.

In a letter to Black Mountain poet Robert Creeley, Charles Olson recommended considering the page a field for words. My work in concrete poetry led me outdoors to fields. In 1970, while a student at Kent State, fields, swamps and beaches became pages for works of art. Although steeped in literature and poetry, I began to work outdoors, finding that my writing could not adequately express the emotions driven by the killings of four students on the grounds of the university.

On a hillside, directly across from campus, I carved a 20 foot diameter "O", an "earth-moan". That did it! I've been working outdoors ever since. Always writing and drawing, but the outdoor, site-specific pieces are where it's at for me.

The answer is always in the site. Walking and walking the site. Trying to discover it's form. Then making some sort of trace that I was there.

Michael McCafferty

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