Megan Cline, image from Moth Oddities article
Megan Cline is a sculptor whose practice focuses on mimicking materials and exploring memory. Her understanding of the terms object, item and material go as follows:
- Object: External to the human mind; is entirely physical
- Item: A specific object within a larger whole
- Material: What constitutes an object; the very thing that makes up an object
Megan Cline creates pieces that speak to the tenderness and comfort of youth. In those delicate years, when an individual is beginning to interact with the world on multiple levels, the very basis of who one is begins to take shape. A child may not know who they will become, as I believe many of us look back to our younger selves and wonder what they would think if they met us now, but there are the beginnings of defining oneself. The identity of oneself begins to take shape in that juvenescent time.
Monkey on the Ground, installation
With childhood, comes the idea of a home. When Megan was an artist in residence in Thailand, and living out of a backpack, the idea of ‘home’ was ever-present up to her. While homes vary globally, so do the materials that constitute them. There are basic signifers for the home: carpets, beds, tablecloths, cleaning supplies. No matter where she was, Megan always came back to these basic signifiers that reminded her of home. Throughout her work, using materials that remind individuals of childhood and the home, her pieces call forth the memories associated with the objects she uses to piece together her sculptures.
Spoon-Fed Tomb Head
In Megan’s piece Spoon-Fed Tomb Head, two slabs of painted concrete are cradled on pieces of carpet protection tape. The concrete is a replica of a blanket. Steel tubing is set up to hold the tape as they balance the concrete. On the lowest slab, a sleeping bag lays slightly unfurled. Fish food flakes are sprinkled on the tape that holds the lowest portion. From this lowest section, a string reaches out and at the end a vacuum nozzle clings to some fabric. On the top piece of concrete, a piece of Wrigley’s Big Red gum twists back and leaves an imprint where it sits. Megan uses concrete because of its imprintable nature and it references the concrete homes that Thomas Edison tried to build to replace wooden homes. The piece may seem to be a very lose bunk bed, or may be some odd jungle gym, but it is meant to play on the term ‘cradle’. Cradle has three definitions: a small bed for an infant, a form of a support that holds objects (think of a phone cradle for a landline), or a space where something was nurtured during its early existence (the cradle of civilization). When looking at Spoon-Fed Tomb Head, all of these definitions come to fruition. The sleeping bag refers to the cradle as a place for a baby to nap, the placement of the concrete on the tape makes it a form such as a phone cradle and the piece, all together, encaptures the basic ideas of memory from the earliest stages of human life (the cradle) to death (tomb).
Spoon-Fed Tomb Head, detail
In another piece, Monkey on the Ground, a piece of painted concrete sits on top of stacks of Wrigley gum, and placed on a rug. A curtain rod stretches across the top of the concrete, with a necklace twisted around it and just hovering above the surface of the slab. Placed around or near the piece are kneeling pads. Megan brings forth the communal aspect of the home by offering viewers to take a kneeling pad and to sit around the concrete. It is a space to ponder; to reflect upon the piece, upon the memories that come forth, and to think about being together with others.
Monkey on the Ground, detail
Part of object / item / material / me is to discuss how artists explore their identities through the objects they use in their practice, and how other people interact with these objects. In Megan’s sculptures, she presents us with the very beginnings of ourselves. She wants us to reach back and to think about the moments that brought us to where we are. Using gum, a bed, or the communal nature of home, Megan is asking the viewer to pause and think about growing up.
Next up // July 15th: Artist Spotlight - River Ian Kerstetter
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