2008, oil and charcoal on board, 1500 x 1200mm
Manet, 1863 “Olympia”
Hockney, 1971, “Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy”
Waiting for the Call Up
Waiting for the Call Up is a self-portrait of McGorry with his father and son. Creating this work gave McGorry an ‘eerie sense of one’s mortality’ as it was created soon after McGorry did his own generational shuffle, losing a grandfather and gaining a grandchild, thus moving from having two generations in front of him to two generations behind. . The central figure of McGorry’s father is rendered to exist in the moment, whilst the other two figures, like time, are moving on.
Visually, the composition is based on two famous precedents – Edouard Manet’s Modernist masterpiece Olympia and David Hockney’s Mr and Mrs Clark Percy. While it may not seem at first glance, that a portrait of three clothed men has much to do with a portrait of a naked prostitute, it is actually Olympia’s direct and unapologetic stare which McGorry is borrowing. . Like her, the self-portrait of McGorry looks directly out to the viewer as if to announce his generational presence smack bang in the middle – he has come some way but still has a way to go.
McGorry also borrows the compositional set up of a standing and seated figure from David Hockney’s famous contemporary piece Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy. Like the seated Mr Percy, again McGorry borrows the pose.
In the Mr Percy work, the cat represented his bi-sexual nature and deceitfulness and jealousy that abounded between the married couple. In McGorry’s work he has painted a dog which is the opposite a symbol of loyalty and trust.