billy mcguinness
Motivated by a deep desire to meaningfully respond to injustice, my long-term collaborative projects address two of society’s most intolerable problems: mass incarceration and homelessness. Working in socially-engaged, participatory art, my practice is primarily a means of connecting with other people, cultivating through shared experience greater awareness, deeper empathy, and the possibility of social change. Expanding into image/object making and performance, my work also speaks to hunger and environmental stewardship. Through a variety of mediums and processes, including solo and collective efforts, I explore the physical, spiritual, and psychological consequences of both public policy and basic human behavior, how we meet or deny needs, alleviate or exacerbate suffering. My source materials—rusty metal picked off the street, dirt from the bottoms of shoes, drips from soup kitchen coffee cups, handwritten letters, food, my body, and society’s institutions—reflect unseen truths and convey the energy of something untouchable. By rearranging these things, identifying alternative ways of seeing and being, new forms emerge: meditations on the value of life, the interconnectedness of all things, and the nature of a harmonious existence. Ultimately, I aim through my work to fundamentally disrupt the mechanisms of oppression and indifference and make possible a kinder world.