Margaret Meehan uses the past to examine both the present and the future.
Addressing politicized bodies that directly contest societal homogeneity through medical conditions, race, gender, or sexuality, she creates a tension between center and periphery.
In the past she has drawn inspiration from female Civil War soldiers who presented as men in order to fight for their beliefs.
Another body of work draws influence from the tale of a woman born with an atypical version of an atypical condition called Hypertrichosis that caused her to be completely covered in snow-white hair.
In exploring the lives of these women, Meehan taps into the common fear of that which defies classification.
The majority of Meehan’s different series addresses the stories of individuals—focusing on their humanity.
She investigates the lives they led, often uncovering forgotten narratives through meticulous research.
On her blog (http://upliketoast.blogspot.com), one gains access to her methodology.
Text, images, and videos co-mingle. We see the inspiration for multiple projects scattered across each page.
Present in the most recent posts are accumulations of blues, including Elvis’s rendition of “Blue Moon” and Agnes Martin’s delicate blue-line work.
In other posts she catalogues manifestations of the romantic/erotic narrative of being held captive by savages as seen in No Doubt’s video for their song
“Looking Hot” and in Erastus Dow Palmer’s painting, The White Captive.
These two lines of inquiry elaborate on her exhibition Bye Bye Blue at the Old Jail Art Center in Albany, Texas, and connect the project to different manifestations throughout time.
Meehan is presenting the echoes of human history Like a siren singing sailors to shipwreck,
these haunting words drift through the Old Jail Arts Center, pulling you into Meehan’s exhibition (though admittedly to a more positive end).
Here, implementing ceramics, altered photographs, text, and sculpture, the artist explores the life of Olive Oatman. Oatman led an extraordinary life.
Born in 1837 in Illinois, at the age of 14 her family was murdered by a Native American tribe.
The only individuals to escape this fate were herself and her sister, who were enslaved, and one brother who was left for dead, but survived.
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