The cover of After Wake initially gives little away. Two rows of four gold circles adorn a matt-black exterior, which subsequently references packet of pills – an important motif that returns again in the final image as a ghostly impression. Here, McElroy’s hazy realm consists of snapshot, grainy female nudes, mixed with various scenes of flora and domestic banality. The anonymous, faceless women are often defined by their underwear: a collection of closely cropped, abstract body parts shot in flash-lit interiors. Juxtaposed throughout are images of plants and flowers – varying from wilting decay to full radiance, and these strands are tied together by floral patterns adorning bed sheets, furnishings and garments. The viewer is encouraged to piece together a narrative through various fragments of steelier items – electric stun guns, pills and empty vodka bottles – yet it is the themes of life cycles, fertility and renewal that continue to bubble under the surface.
£18 / 94pp / Mar 2013 / Ampersand Gallery / Fine Books
Reviewed by James D Clark
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