Stuart McCall’s practice is characterized by an observational perspective that focuses on industrial areas and construction worksites.
McCall began documenting this subject matter with an eye to architectural design and heroic structural elements. Recently, his attention has turned to details within these landscapes. During visits to construction sites, he was drawn to a recurring and curious language of temporary markings inscribed on cement buttresses, walls, posts, and even made directly onto the ground. Reminiscent of cuneiform or prehistoric scripts painted onto cave walls, these inscriptions relay a message to some future observer.
In a complex, deadline-driven environment like the modern-day construction site, a simple method of mark making is often the only way to pass on information. These are created using various materials and conventions: spray paint, chalk, pencil, and paint are used to trace symbols, numbers, and abbreviations.
The temporary nature of these symbols is compelling: they document the transition between permanence and impermanence, and indicate an action that needs to be taken. They are then covered, sawn through, dug up, or otherwise removed from sight. Capturing these iterations through photography, McCall’s work distinguishes the impermanence of the markings from the fixedness of the resulting structures, and of the photographic prints themselves.