Sandra Meigs: The Basement Panoramas: Opening Night
Victoria artist Sandra Meigs explores expressive terrain in her new project, The Basement Panoramas, connecting drawing, painting, sound, robotics, and perception into an experiential installation. Taking as a point of departure the invisible underthings of architecture—basements and crawl spaces—Meigs resuscitates forgotten, and often neglected, storage spaces and charges them with potent psycho-social intensity.
For centuries, the human body has been a standard metaphor for architecture, a device that Meigs pushes into the untravelled psychological spaces of memory and loss, experience and interiority. The Basement Panoramas are brilliantly hued large-scale paintings that overwhelm the spectator’s field of vision. In each, Meigs charts a passage, annotated by handwritten notes, loosening the confines of subject matter, opening other spaces and unexpected interplay. Grief propelled Meigs’s new series: her paintings refract emotional intensity.
Meigs’s canvases achieve an uncanny human presence that seems to breathe or shift as the viewers observe. In fact, one must walk back and forth to fully apprehend the works. To amplify this destabilizing quality, Meigs constructed The Bones in the Golden Robes, a series of roving ghostly robotic figures that cohabit the space.
Meigs worked with Victoria composer Christopher Butterfield to develop the sound components of the ghost robots. She also enlisted the help of artist Mowry Baden to create special panoramic headgear as an analogue experience in the gallery space.
Open Space will publish an illustrated book in conjunction with The Basement Panoramas with essays by Jen Hutton, Toby Lawrence, and Dr. Joan McNeely.
Sandra Meigs was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and holds a BFA (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) and a MA (Dalhousie University). She has been professor (painting) at the University of Victoria since 1993 and served as chair of the Department of Visual Arts from 1997 to 2002. Her work has been exhibited widely across Canada at major institutions, including the Power Plant, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery, and the Ydessa Hendeles Foundation. Internationally, her work has been exhibited at the Freedman Gallery, Reading, PA; the Bologna Biennale, the Fifth Biennale of Sydney; and the Fodor Museum, Amsterdam. Her work is represented by the Susan Hobbs gallery (susanhobbs.com) in Toronto, where she has exhibited Swoon (2003), The Newborn (2001), JOYJOY SORROW(1999), Resin Heads (1998), Dummies (1997), Canadian (1995), and Baby (1994).