I Feel Real

About I Feel Real

Meigs’ paintings also refer to the history of painting. At first one might remember Italian Mannerist painter Giuseppe Archimboldo’s imaginative busts entirely constructed from a cornucopia of painted fruits and vegetables. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Meigs built three-dimensional miniature models of her “vegetable figures,” painted from life onto gessoed paper, scaled them to fit the final panel and then cut them out. Meigs notes that she loves this part of the process because “as soon as you cut them out they seem to come to life,” similar to playing with paper dolls, which informed her identity and socialization as a girl growing up in the 1950’s. The backgrounds are painted separately and remain unworked but, like the figures, devilishly reference famous works by romantic and modern masters Édouard Manet, Francisco Goya and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, well after Arcimboldo’s early mannerisms. They function like simple, flattened stage sets onto which Meigs glues the cut-out figures before finessing their final positioning with shading. Each figure is therefore both physically and visually separated from its context, while the yellow-trim that contains these very modestly scaled acrylic on paper and panel paintings further isolates them within their own worlds.
— Diana Sherlock, from the catalogue “I Feel Real,” published by VivianeArt 2019