15 paintings, oil on linen, text panel, frame

About Canadian

Canadian, a fiercely perverse, melancholic series of fifteen paintings from 1995, links images that might ostensibly describe Meigs herself. But the artist mixes fiction with fact. She resists being defined in a work that ponders the sources identity and creativity. The latter’s origin in the child’s delighted discovery of its own excrement is suggested by the dark brown paint from which the images emerge. Most are based on illustrations from children’s books and fairy tales, but this is a case of disenchantment. Oscillating between formal beauty and revulsion, the series, with deadpan irony, implies the hapless nihilism of the slogan, “Life is shit and then you die.”

“Heaviest irony, however, is reserved for the cherished myth of childhood innocence. Here, the innocent, an illustrator’s fantasy, is a little blond girl in a red dress, gazing up at a big brown cloud bursting open above her head. She is beset on every side and yet protected by her creativity, which has the power to illuminate darkness. …Yellow discs, like suns or blank Happy Faces, are attached to the bottom of each painting and are inscribed with attributes like “Sensitivity”, “Secret”, “Career”, “Love” or “Hate”. The work cunningly crafts a public persona and reflects its other tenebrous side in quaint scatological imagery.
— Nancy Tousley, Canadian Art, Winter 1997, p. 47