On Sugar Mountain. Up Shit Creek.


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December 13- January 17, 2007 at Road Agent Gallery, Dallas, TX

Last year, when the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth launched Pretty Baby, a compelling and disturbing exhibition of works exploring the darker side of adolescence and curated by the Modern’s own Andrea Karnes, Margaret Meehan was the only local artist included in a group of international art stars. And yet Meehan’s work—delicate ceramic sculptures and curious drawings of variously mutated young girls—played hardball with works by the likes of Nathalie Djurberg, Catherine Opie and Richard Phillips, and was unflinching in its presentation of what is inherently menacing, sad, strange and resilient about the experience of childhood. While some parents and teachers were reportedly skittish about Meehan’s unapologetically exposed creatures, children were fascinated and drawn to them, as though recognizing old friends they’d missed terribly but had been forbidden to visit.

Meehan’s concern with locating the sublime in the grotesque is as grounded in a traditional Victorian obsession with medical anomalies as it is with defying our more recent attempt to banish all nastiness and discomfort from our daily experience. In Meehan’s eyes, oily real life indeed seeps up into our fluffy, shiny world, and that’s where things finally get interesting (and often quite funny and absurd). Thus, Meehan directs an admiring gaze, full of defiance and poetry, at all the weird jolts and unexpected biology we call life. She adapts to those gruesome facts, celebrates them, lets the innocent collide with the monstrous in the most unsettling way to create a more rounded experience—a sensibility inherited as much from David Cronenberg or David Lynch as Louise Bourgeois. This is formal presentation tangled up in a knot of rank intestines. Beauty possessed by a Body Snatcher. Sugar laced with shit. – Christina Rees, Road Agent Director

Photo credit: Allison V. Smith