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Meghan Bailey

Painting, and mixed media

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art by somerville artist Meghan  Bailey titled  Sidmund
Sidmund Acrylic on canvas, 2020 16" x 16"
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Artist's Statement

The imagery that consistently emerges in my work are the forms and colors of machinery used for modern landscaping and agriculture, consisting of decaying and rusted lawn mower parts and snow blowers from circa 1970-1989. This was the landscape of my childhood. Broken machinery, engine parts and cars, a large part of my father’s lawnmower shop, are imagery embedded in my subconscious. My ambivalent relationship with this content is intertwined with my fascination of the haunting beauty of industrial refuse as an indelible mark of mankind.

These images are recurring resources, an archive, utilized through photography, printmaking and painting in the same space. Utilizing these images to produce a new body of work, separate from my collage work, I created a series of two inch by two inch paintings in the sketchbook format as a result of limited access to my studio during the pandemic in 2020. Reading as a narrative, the sequential images are fragments of tightly constructed, quotidian machinery. Depicted in bright colors, the use of framing, jangly lines and dots are reminiscent of Ben Day dots and the panels and humor from comics. The longer you look the stranger it gets. These small images are transcribed into 16×16 paintings on canvas for a more accessible experience.

The collage works on paper employ the same content of machinery. An imprint of each image is cut into fragments, collaged into pieces, and layered, within hand-printed patterns of dots, netting, and mesh paired with comic book colors. Employed as structures and tools to veil and reveal, the view of any particular image is partially obstructed creating an illusion of push and pull. The motifs of hide and seek and looking through examine the notion of boundaries and permeable walls. Using this trickster quality, they become keyholes, viewfinders, or stereoscopes and act as a distancing mechanism. I am interested in the tension between pictorial and illusionistic space, of abstract forms and representational space in the same painting. This indirect image-making reflects the decay of an image and a memory, underscoring my ambivalence to the original content.

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