Rachel Grobstein and Margaret Meehan
June 17—July 23, 2017
Ulterior Gallery is pleased to present a two-person exhibition of works by Rachel Grobstein and Margaret Meehan. The exhibition opens on Saturday, June 17 with a reception for the artists from 6 to 8 pm.
Rachel Grobstein and Margaret Meehan’s works occupy the uncertain but suggestive zone between non-fiction and fiction. The artists draw directly upon artifacts and ephemera both contemporary and historical to create works that both reference and float free of their original sources.
Rachel Grobstein will exhibit a wall-scaled installation of her miniature sculptures of disposable objects: cardboard boxes, trashed paper cups, a crumpled pizza box, etc., all reduced to a size that can sit in the palm of your hand. Recreated as small-scale sculptures, Grobstein’s objects are almost beneath notice, yet possessed of a significance and permanence that they did not have as mere items of “junk.” Grobstein says, “For me, there was a perverse logic in inverting the readymade status of unhappy objects back to the handmade, to reassert longing and intimacy.” Assembled on the wall as an installation, these tiny objects form a landscape of human activities.
Margaret Meehan’s ceramic sculptures and cabinet-card collage works are inspired by the persona of the fashion designer Coco Chanel, who was at once iconic for her modern designs and controversial for her political views and her activities during World War II. Chanel’s designs freed women from corsets and elided distinctions between the sexes; she was also an anti-Semite and a collaborator with the Nazis. The details of Meehan’s figures are based on the Chanel brand and its promotional materials; elements of Meehan’s collages and parts of the figures she depicts are directly sourced from Chanel advertisements. Meehan develops “models” from these details, and combined with her interest in otherness, states of being in-between, and the discomforts of being a self, they become creatures whose existence seems to hover between Chanel’s two disparate personas. They are monstres sacré in which multiple identities are spliced into one.
Rachel Grobstein graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 and has lived and worked in New York since 2013. She is currently participating in the Roswell Artist-in-Residence program in Roswell, NM. She has been awarded a Studios of Key West artist residency in Key West, FL (2016), a Vermont Studio Center Full Fellowship by the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Johnson, VT (2012), and the Siting Prize for a site-specific installation at the RISD Museum (2013), Providence, RI.
Margaret Meehan received her MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1999 and currently lives and works in Richmond, VA. Her works have been exhibited at: Flowers Gallery, London (2016); Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2014); The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (2013); and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX (2007). She has been the recipient of numerous grants and residencies including: the Nasher Sculpture Center Microgrant (2015); The Lighthouse Works Fellowship, Fishers Island, NY (2013); Bemis Center, Omaha, NE (2009); and the Dozier Travel Grant, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (2008).