Paintings, oil on Masonite, silver Mylar, mixed media, picture lamps

About Dummies

….Here, the two sides of the grotesque — laughter and horror — are collapsed into one surface, driven into a pulsating indistinction. Presented as if a type of Fine Art portrait series, these works show viscerally melted faces whose surfaces are a foaming brew of materials, textures, and figural references, and look like they’ve been it by chemical slush. Underlying the inside-out quality of these ‘portraits’ (the depiction of raw flesh rather than skin) a small library light, also borrowed from the portrait tradition, is clipped upside-down to the bottom of each stretcher so that the glow of the light appears to cast itself like a glimmer of a smile across the surface, even onto the surrounding wall — only to plunge all facial features into monster-like disfigurements….”

“….If this analysis lends itself to Sandra Meigs’ own statement on the works in the exhibition (that these paintings have their beginning in the horrible story of her 60 year old brother, who was a derelict alcoholic, had been drinking solidly for about six weeks, and then slits his wrists), it also indicates a close relationship to those artists who render themselves abject-objects, in contemporary art, those who enact the “lumpen proletariat” or soiled self, “Pants Shitter and Proud of It”. However, Sandra Meigs’ portraits of subjects who have melted, laughing at us while falling apart, that is, of subjects who seem to desire death — in an intoxicated low and drunken high — are not themselves the mimetic enactment of such regression (where she herself desires or even becomes such an object, that is, to entertain such a fiction). Her portraits represent this culture’s internal Other — the assassinated, imploded subject, the swollen face of the drunkard abdication and chemical dissolution — through the oblique prism of the grotesque dummy, a decoy, and imitation or human stand-in, and in this way recuperates a very old role for painting in the age of hypnotized mass culture.
— Barbara Fischer, "Sandra Meigs: Dummies," Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, 1996