About the Photographer

McCartney, Paula

American, b. 1971

Minneapolis-based artist Paula McCartney creates artist books and images about the Midwestern landscape and the human influence on nature. Her most recent book, "Stratigraphic", mixes imagery of the photography within caves created by Jason Vaughn with ceramic sculptures created by McCartney. The two representations, side by side, ponder the relationships between nature and the built environment. The MoCP currently holds five of McCartney’s artists books in its permanent collection.

In McCartney’s series "Bird Watching," densely wooded landscapes are enlivened, ironically, by brightly colored craft store songbirds. While the deceit is more obvious in some pictures than others, these faux fowl punctuate their environments both as formal elements—carefully arranged amid the arc and curve of brush and branches—and as a curious construction that offers an idealized vision of nature undercut by a gentle satire of that ideal. Expected to be a two-year project, McCartney began the "Bird Watching" series in 2003, and released a book with the same title, co-published by Princeton Architectural Press and the MoCP, in 2010.

To make her artist book, "What Doesn't Kill You Will Likely Try Again" (2018), Paula McCartney spent a full year recording and following the movement of light in her home and studio. The resulting four-part book reflects the awareness gained by the artist both of her surrounding environment and architecture as well as her own sense of patience and inner balance.

Paula McCartney completed a Certificate in Photography from the International Center of Photography, New York (1996), a BFA from Empire State College, New York (1998), and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute (2002). She is the recipient of a 2007 and 2013 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photographers, a 2005 Women’s Studio Workshop Artists’ Book Production Grant and a 2004 Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant. Her work has been exhibited at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN and the Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, to name a few. Her work is also held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN, among others.