The Lighthouse and How She Got There
November 6 - December 13, 2008
"Theirs is a wild, unsettling world that splits off parallel versions of itself, a hope and the dashing of that hope, a balancing act that hovers between being lost and found."
—Meghan Boody, 2008
Rick Wester Fine Art is very pleased to announce the inaugural one-person exhibition in its series RWFA Picture Projects at 511 West 25th Street. Meghan Boody: The Lighthouse And How She Got There is the artist's first solo exhibition in New York since 2000. It continues her exploration into invented worlds traversed by young girls finding themselves in strange lands without maps, guides or protection, and who are eventually transformed by their journeys. While implied threats are omnipresent, Boody's protagonists are vulnerable but plucky, unafraid and invincible.
Meghan Boody creates synthetic pictures, compositing photographs from dozens of different source images, some executed by her in lands far from her own New York City home. While obviously artificial, the Lighthouse pictures maintain a naturalism of light, shadow, form and perspective. The works are completely believable as photographs not only for the overwhelming amount of camera derived detail but also because Boody structures the images as if the wild vistas before us were actually seen through a camera's viewfinder. Intensely colored, they nevertheless are at times somber and frightening — but always exhilarating. The palette recalls nature, as we know it, but somehow shifts our perspective slightly, as if the world was viewed through uniquely filtered glasses.
The works are titled with opening lines from Victorian novels that feature an orphan as the protagonist. Among these are "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day" from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and "Night is generally my time for walking" from Little Nell by Charles Dickens. Like the characters in those stories, Boody's anonymous travelers undergo metamorphoses. They venture back and forth, lost in unchartered territory. These explorations lie at the core of Boody's work. While previous series used fantastical symbolism to depict inner change, the Lighthouse pictures deploy nature to evoke the wilderness of the human psyche. Questing subjects brave the elements, a metaphor for the perils of internal shape shifting.
The frames Boody has designed for the series reflect the protagonist's journey and provide another level of meaning. Medallions representing three stages of animal metamorphosis protrude in relief from the lower border, while a glass eye ensconced at the top peers down at the viewer. Hence the picture looks back at the viewer viewing the picture, a subtle reminder that photography is always about seeing, regardless of the process.
Six works, all large scale (58 x 78 inches) will be exhibited and the series is expected to grow to a dozen when complete. Each work takes approximately six months to a year to execute.
Accompanying the photographs will be a selection from the artist's project Glass Worlds. These are comprised of precariously stacked animal figures and miniatures residing under glass domes. The works are titled after stars (i.e. Rigel, Mira, Pollux) and will be exhibited on goatskin-covered shelves also designed by the artist. Glass Worlds provides an antidote to Lighthouse, offering up microcosms set aside from the real world and the ravages of nature that are otherwise ready to topple over at the slightest breath of wind.