Glasstires 2011 Fall Preview

Margaret Meehan: Hystrionics and the Forgotten Arm
Women and Their Work

October 6 – November 10, 2011

Artist (and Glasstire blogger) Margaret Meehan self-describes her aesthetic influences as drawn from pugilism, Victoriana and the photo portraiture style of 19th c. cabinet cards. When I first saw this image, I was drawn into the enigmatic narrative. Initially reminded of Matthew Barney, upon looking longer and harder, there’s a specifically female appeal to rage and loss and endurance. This pugilist is a new, haunting archetype mixed from some heavy disparate elements. On her website, Meehan thanks the model, Amy Revier, “for her patience and exquisite loveliness throughout a very long and uncomfortable shoot.”

This acts as a description of the underlying story, for me, as well; something grotesquely lovely wrought from scary variables. Her work brings to mind the recent discovery that for people with any European ancestry, there’s a likelihood of carrying some Neanderthal DNA. Meehan’s pugilist recalls the oh-so-human, not-so-human enigma of this revelation; we’re more than we thought we ever were, and consequently must think more of the Other than we generally have — the trappings of being human just got weirder, richer and more mysterious. — Sarah Fisch