Megan MacDonald - Lux
Megan MacDonald's newest series of work, LUX, is a distorted paradise placed somewhere between the Disney dreams of a five-year old girl and the luminous, epic landscapes of the 19th century. Bambi deer, placid unicorns, and windswept damsels are transported to otherworldly settings. Scenic sunsets and rolling cloudscapes are offset by the eerily still subjects within them, who are bathed in an ethereal light. MacDonald’s practice pays homage to the traditions and techniques of the Hudson River School while challenging and parodying the colonialist priorities of the romantic narrative. By linking subjects that reference childhood, fantasy and femininity with the facade-creating practices of the Hudson River School, MacDonald’s work re-creates its own mythos while actively undermining the illusion it seeks to build.
In her newest series of work, she replaced her paintings’ subjects with porcelain doppelgangers, evident by their glazed-over eyes and reflective bodies, who inhabit the scenery and yet are as vacant as they are present. For MacDonald, the porcelain creatures sit just outside of reality, creating tension in a nearly flawless facade. LUX, which specifically references the Luminist movement within the Hudson River School, parodies the School’s use of light to signify the divine. Spotlights and glowing environments are used as tools to elevate the inherently kitsch porcelain figurines to a position of value and importance, giving them an iconic presence.
It is this act of creating and subtly disrupting that MacDonald finds intriguing, using her playful interventions to represent her own complex position within the history of painting.