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A Sports Sociologist Assesses “SCORE: Artists in Overtime”
March 19, 2014
By Mary G. McDonald
Ever since learning about the “SCORE: Artists in Overtime” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) through March 29, I have been thinking about the relationship between sport and art. Is art sport? Is sport art? Does athletic expression constitute a type of fine art? Read More
Painter depicts a frightening portrait of suburbia
By Felicia Feaster
Suburbia is slightly sinister in Atlanta artist Meg Aubrey’s paintings. It’s a desolate place; as unnervingly serene, emotionally chilly and scrubbed of people as Edward Hopper’s lonely city streets. The cul de sacs and soccer fields Aubrey depicts in bold grasshopper greens, street sign yellows and bubblegum pinks are vast, foreboding spaces, free of background detail. Hallmarks of suburbia — vast green lawns, playing fields, sidewalks — end up looking like a minimalist stage set. The real action is in Aubrey’s character studies — vivid, nuanced portraits of the queen bees of this milieu: the wives and mothers who appear to do nothing with their days but play tennis, walk dogs, sip coffee and stand on the sidelines of their children’s sporting events.
Aubrey’s solo show “Domiciled” at Whitespace Gallery posits a strange, almost science fiction world ruled by women. But women of a very certain type: eyes shrouded by sunglasses, clad in tennis or jogging outfits, businesslike in their pursuit of leisure. The sunglasses and uniforms of sportswear do a good job of masking their individuality and personality: instead they blend into a “type.” The only men in sight are the two faceless yard workers, depicted in two 8-by-6-inch portraits, whose backs are turned away from us mowing the lawn or blowing leaves. The contrast of these ladies of leisure and those stocky men who do their lawn work clearly says something about economic division, one of many social commentaries that enrich this show.
Though her primary focus in “Domiciled” is portraits of these well-off suburban women, the show is all the better for the economic malaise that has seeped into the work. Aubrey allows subtle indications of deeper troubles to emerge in “Domiciled.” In “For Sale,” she paints a long, winding suburban road marked by identical AstroTurf green front lawns, brick-encased mailboxes and row after row of blue signs plunked in every front yard. There doesn’t need to be lettering on the signs for us to know these are sale signs and that the recession has hit even these prosperous streets. In “Space Available” it is more of the same: a manicured upscale strip mall that might house an Ann Taylor and a Restoration Hardware boasts an empty parking lot and gives a strong impression that the suburban boom has gone bust.
A deeply talented painter with a unique and spooky vision of one aspect of Atlanta’s landscape, Aubrey paints what she knows. Aubrey is also a resident of an Atlanta suburb and even depicts herself in several of the works. In her 40-by-60-inch painting “Damaged,” she is seen in hyper close-up, her eyes visible behind a large pair of sunglasses. Her lip bears an ugly bloody gash. Though the wound might summon up visions of domestic violence or even plastic surgery, in real life, Aubrey’s injury was the result of a dog bite. Like the indications of economic distress, it is an image that gives “Domiciled” its darker strain, suggesting that all is definitely not right beneath these placid, manicured surfaces.
Aubrey has tried something new in this solo show. She has decorated a long row of Starbucks-style paper coffee cups with pencil drawings of suburban women, all with their eyes blocked out by tinted sunglasses. Called “Coffee Time,” the installation is a bold move and Aubrey’s effort to try a different tack. Though she may not have intended it, those cups decorated with the chilly, masked women from her paintings suggest Aubrey’s world is its own brand, as identifiable in its own right as the look and taste of Starbucks coffee.
Meg Aubrey limns an uneasy suburbia, of soccer moms and sameness, in “Domiciled”
September 12, 2012
The new paintings and drawings in Meg Aubrey’s “Domiciled,” at Whitespace through October 13, reflect an increasingly familiar social condition. Whether you talk about “liquid modernity” with sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, or “Noplaceness” as in the book of that title that ArtsATL co-founder Catherine Fox and I co-wrote with Cinqué Hicks, large parts of American life entail being “domiciled,” in the neutral legal term, in communities that could be anywhere, engaging in styles of life that are largely indistinguishable from one city to another, if only because the people who engage in them have often moved very recently from one city to another. Read More.
Art review: Rich but overwrought “Contemporary Figure” at Swan Coach House Gallery
March 22, 2011
by Felicia Feaster
There’s so much going on in “The Contemporary Figure: New Trends in Narrative Painting and Sculpture” at Swan Coach House Gallery, such an overwhelming cacophony in the show’s exploration of the figure as an expression of interior states of mind, that viewers would be forgiven for feeling a little overstimulated. I left needing a cold compress. Read More.
Meg Aubrey emphasizes white space in I Just Live Here
January 29, 2009
By Cinque Hicks
Meg Aubrey’s MFA thesis show, I Just Live Here, at Gallery Stokes is like a debutante ball: Both serve up white, southern womanhood with a saccharine aftertaste to feed mythologies of place and time. Read More.