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On the Bookshelves: Cornelius McCarthy

On the Bookshelves: Cornelius McCarthy


Radiant Affinities, The Life and Work of Cornelius McCarthy brings the serenely beautiful work of this unfamiliar painter back into the light.

It is Cornelius McCarthy's moment. With an exhibition in London and a new 300-page biography laced with beautiful plates of his stylized, colorful drawings and paintings, the artist is being exposed to a wider audience.

"Radiant Affinities," an exhibition of British gay painter Cornelius McCarthy (1935-2009) opened February 12 in London at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives and also celebrated the arrival of 62 sketchbooks at Tower Hamlets. The exhibition runs through May 7.

The book, Radiant Affinities, The Life and Work of Cornelius McCarthy, is the first full-length biography of McCarthy, a painter whose work is to be found in private collections worldwide but is still relatively unfamiliar. After more than four years of research by British author Peter Dobson, who also knew the artist for more than 40 years, the book shows a passionate artist who leaves behind wonderful artworks in which the male form frequently returns.

Cover_lecturex633_0Above right, Peter Dobson gives a talk on McCarthy's 'Narcissus' paintings at the opening night of the exhibition at Tower Hamlets Local History Library on February 12, 2015.

This lavishly illustrated book examines his artistic legacy in the context of the unprecedented social, cultural and political change in which he lived and worked, from World War II London through to the sexual politics and ideological struggles of the 21st century. His vibrant imagery, compassionate response to suffering, and commitment to human values sometimes make his pictures challenging, but they often achieve a sense of emotional balance and a special radiance.

There will be a book launch April 18 at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives at 277 Bancroft Road, Stepney, E1 4DQ. Radiant Affinities is the seventh book produced by the MooiMan male art gallery since 2006. The book will also be for sale in the U.K. at Gay's the Word bookshop in London.

To order from MooiMan direct: Radiant Affinities, The Life and Work of Cornelius McCarthy

All images (c) Alec Ayres, the former partner of McCarthy.



07-07-two-figures-tunesiax633_0Two Figures, Tunisia

08-07-et-in-arcadia-egox633_0Et in Arcadia Ego, 1987. Oil on canvas, 76 x 71 cm.

08-15-cm-bike-boy-gold-lamex633_0Bike Boy With Girl in Gold Lame Dress, 1986. Gouache, 37 x 47 cm.

09-03-img_2530x633_0Mick Jones With Count James Francis de Gallatin, no date. Gouache on paper

09-04-img_20140314_0001ax633_0Narcissus Combing his Hair, 1988. Gouache, 29 x 21.5 cm.

Waiter, Merida, 1997. Oil on board, 33 x 24.5 cm.

11-02-station-xiii-two-mournersx633_0XIII Station: Two Mourners [Belfast Stations of the Cross series] c. 1983. Gouache

11-05-img_2354x633_0XII Station: The Execution, c. 1982. Design sketch in gouache on paper, sheet size 41.8 x 29.8 cm.

11-10-img_1944-finalx633_0Black Entombment, 1992. Gouache on plaster board, 75 x 60 cm.

12-03-img_2642x633_0Four Boys Bathing, 1999. Pastels on paper, 45.8 x 57 cm.

12-15-cm-beach-hut-figuresx633_0Beach Hut Figures, 2003. Gouache, 35.5 x 44.5 cm.

12-33-blondtouristcapitolineafternoon_x633_0Capitoline Afternoon, 2009. Gouache on cartridge paper, 23 x 16. 5 cm.

12-34-studio-sailorx633_0Studio with Naked Sailor, 1994. Oil on canvas, 121 x 106 cm.

Bronzeboy_x633_0Bronze Boy, 2009. Gouache on cartridge paper, 21.5 x 20 cm.

Dockland-bathersx633_0Dockland Bathers

The-great-facadex633_0The Great Facade, 2007. Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 cm.

Young-dockerx633_0Young Docker - Edward, 2008. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 cm.

Willow-endx633_0 Alec and Cornelius in the sitting room at Willow End, March 2007. Photograph by Nebojsa Zdravkovic.

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