The Dummies Series(1996),
oil, mixed media
SANDRA MEIGS is a nationally exhibited artist currently teaching at the University of Victoria. "Dummies," her first solo exhibition on the West Coast, is a series of paintings based on models that Meigs constructed from such found materials as bubble wrap, towels, plastic, pillows and scrap wood. These figure-models subsequently served as catalysts for their "picture portraits".
While the vibrantly patterned and brushstroked surfaces of the paint are fascinating and often beautiful, the images embedded within them often verge on the grotesque or repulsive. In part, this association can be attributed to the ambiguous illusions of representational materials, which create an uneasy tension between their referents and her more painterly drips and washes. Similarly, caricatures of faces often appear cartoon-like, but their torsos and limbs dissolve in a surrealistic melange of warped shapes.
The sense of fragmentation is emphasized in the gallery setting with 50-watt halogen floodlights, which make light reflected from silver mylar tape attached to the edges of the pictures bounce around and over them like "voices."
© Mia Johnson