Artist: Megan Macuen
Exhibition: Untitled 1-3
Media: weaving, sculpture, 4D
Gallery: CSULB school of Art, Gatov Gallery East
On Wednesday February 9th 2017 I had the pleasure of meeting Megan Macuen who was one of the two artists on campus during our scheduled time. Megan is a graduate student here at CSULB. When asking Megan questions about her artwork she had given very open ended answers, I had asked her how long she had been creating art and she had told us that she has been building sculptures, painting, drawing, and weaving art since she could remember. When asking Megan about the artwork in the gallery she had said that when creating her artwork she had no predetermined information or reasoning behind her creation. Megan had let her mind and hands do all the work. When walking into the gallery, Megan’s work was on the right of the divider. Within her section she had three pieces of work. When asking Megan about her inspiration for her artwork she said that she had none. That she let her hands do the work and watched what they had created.
The first piece of artwork was in the back right corner, she had spoken of the significance of the piece. It was here where she had spoken of what the piece had consisted of and the reasoning behind why she had put them there. The piece had four sections, the bottom consisted of a net, the second section consisted of ceramic animals, the third section consisted of egg cartons that were painted blue, and the fourth section consisted of egg cartons that were painted white. The net was hand woven and had a significance that was said to be from a dream, she had spoken of the net being at a bottom of a slide in her nightmares when she was a child, concerned that it would consume her and that she would be attacked by skeletal pirates. The significance behind the second layer was that she had no children yet she was fascinated by their artwork. The ceramic animals were painted by different children but the molds were uniform at the same time, however they were collected at different points in time and Megan had collected all of the artwork on her own from different locations. She had placed the animals upside down under a piece of wood, facing the net. She had said that the animals were a symbol of her childhood and that they were imperfect, which is why they were all different colors and different animals. The third layer was of egg cartons that were painted blue, this level was above the animal layer. The cartons were placed perfectly in order and painted in the same places in the same color. The blue cartons were ordered, Megan had said that this had symbolized adulthood. The perfection of the adult world. How one has to be perfect when they grow up. The final section made up of the white painted egg cartons which hung above the the blue cartons which again were painted and ordered perfectly, symbolizing the perfection of the adult world. She had seen levels of ideals of perfectionism and how the plains relate to each other: how there is the child’s land, and then reality.
The second piece of artwork was on the left wall of the gallery. This piece of artwork was what looked like 3 mops hanging from a board and pulley system. I had again asked her about her inspiration for the piece and she had said that she had none. Megan has said that she wanted to make something easy to recognize. A Mop. Megan had said that the interpretation was up to us. There were four sections to this piece; a softball, a plank of wood, a rope attached to a pulley system, and a rag/mop. The significance behind the softball at the bottom of the sculpture, propping up the wooden plank had symbolized her athletic side that she no longer partakes in. She had designed a tetherball structure, so she had wanted to incorporate it into her artwork. The wooden plank had symbolized the suppression of sports which is why it hides it from normal site. The third part was the rope which was attached to the pulley system, this was the support that had held the sculpture hanging, and it was what tied the sculpture together. The fourth and final piece was the three rags at the bottom of the mop which were hand knit and had taken many hours to make. These rags were told to have no symbolism and was left up to the admirers perception. In my opinion it symbolized the cleansing of one’s life. How theres something that is being suppressed and is holding something together at the same time, but what holds it all together disguises it as something it’s not.
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to ask about the third sculpture, however I was able to ask her about the materials that she had used when creating her artwork and she had stated that she had used (wood, house paint, cotton rope, muslin, aqua resin, collected ceramics, collected fake fruite, hardware, masking tape, softballs, nails, graphite, nylon rope, and a wooden stake). When looking at these structures it was easy to see her attention to detail. Everything was perfectly ordered and painted in uniform. The wood seemed to be to be freshly painted and sanded, every structure was over 6 feet tall, while one of the structures had a loose image to it the other two were straight and sturdy. It was only after talking to the artist about the significance of the pieces that it was easy to see their inspiration of what was created after it was all said and done. It was after talking to Megan that I was able to see the different layers of the perfectionism that surrounds our society, however I was unable to connect to the roped net which was from her personal experiences. The second structure was fairly simply to see the symbolism because it was straightforward, however It was difficult to see the softball because it was hidden under the wooden platform which the structure stood on.
When going off of my personal experiences with the artwork at first I had a difficult time understanding the art that was before me however after talking to Megan I was able to see where she was coming from and see what she was thinking about when she was making the art. In our class we had seen that different perceptions can change something that might be considered trash to one but at the same time can be seen as art to another. Megan’s perception of her art was different than mine, but I was able to understand her first structure that she had created. I was able to see the different levels of her artwork and what had resonated with me was the fact that society makes everything seem perfect and it tries to hide those that aren’t, which was portrayed with the hiding of the animals under the wood. I think that college is a good example of Megan’s work, in the world we live in if everyone is uniform no one will stick out. There will be no way to differentiate between two people who are identical on paper, you have to be unique in a way that is still accepted by society. Although the side of you is hidden at times it’s still apart of your structure, it’s what makes you unique. On the surface you may seem identical but once you break through the layers you can find true beauty that is hidden from plain view.
When talking to the artist she said that she had no website, but, she did have an instagram, under MMacuen. However she had said that the Instagram account was just photos of cars and not her artwork. Below are some of the pictures that I had taken of Megan and her artwork.