Train, Mechanical (2003-2010) is a fully automated tour-de-force that features a George Bush/pirate hybrid mounting a pig from behind, while another pig humps the same pig’s skull, finding aural penetration. This scenario then repeats itself in a figurative “train.” The work finds visual precedent in earlier sculptures with the same cast of characters and related configurations, such as Train, Mechanical, Pig Island (2007), Mountain (2009) and Static (2004-2009).
All of these works stem from Pig Island; this perpetual work in progress, inspired by the Disney ride Pirates of the Caribbean, emphasizes process as sculpture. Many sculptures were spawned from this fertile environment full of political satire, cultural commentary, and playful experimentation with various modes of art production.
In Train, Mechanical, McCarthy has also found inspiration from an ongoing fascination with carnival rides and mechanized mannequins, first seen in his seminal work The Garden (1991-1992). Train, Mechanical takes this early interest to new heights. Here, one experiences fully articulated body parts, right down to the male figure’s pursed lips and the pigs heaving chest – all in the service of a mesmerizing tableau that redefines sculptural form.