46 pieces, urethane foam, fiberglass, resin, marine enamel, carpet


The Susan Hobbs Gallery kicks off Toronto’s fall art season today with an exhibition by Sandra Meigs called JOYJOYSORROW. As any newborn will attest, it doesn’t take much to construct a believable face. A couple of dots for eyes, maybe, and a slash or curve for a mouth (a nose is optional). Meigs’s exhibition consists of 46 such rudimentary faces, each made up of two bulbous eyes (like big fried eggs with their yolk-pupils rolled up to heaven), and a wave of mouth beneath. Carved from polyurethane foam, the eyes are affixed to panels about 45 centimetres square and 15 centimetres think. Each chunky construction has been laminated with fiberglass and thickly painted in a glossy marine enamel. The panel faces are battleship grey except for the bottom third, which is given over to a wave of cold navy-blue pigment –thus providing these rudimentary faces either with a smile (when the wave is a trough) or a frown (when the wave is cresting). Meigs has hung the panels side by side, taking care to relate them smoothly to one another by the ongoing wave, so that they seem to be bobbing on the water like corks, a series of alternately sad and cheerful personages, all of which, preoccupied by their own movement, refuse to look you in the eye. The oceanic mood is sharply enhanced by a gallery-sized, navy-blue carpet commissioned by Meigs with the title JOYJOYSORROW in white letters greeting you as you enter the gallery….. You feel almost intrusive standing there gazing upon them. They are dumbly eloquent, somehow, and — as Meigs herself suggests — saturated with secrets.
— Gary Dault, “Sandra Meigs Catches a Wave," The Globe and Mail, Saturday, September 4, 1999