WHEN WE WERE WATER
Megan Gwen Dyer is an artist, musician and climate activist and currently resides in occupied Lenapehoking territory.
In the series Biographs I question representation and neutrality: Is it possible to make an image with enough specificity to call it a portrait without the use of contingent identifiers such as age, gender and race? How far into non-contingency can portraiture go?
Exploring these questions, I have reassigned the non-representational qualities of abstraction to give specific meaning, and I use biographical data paired with chance to inform images of specific subjects that are categorized as various “Water Types” such as rain and ocean with attributes taken from the I Ching.
In this group of portraits, the images’ dimension is the subject’s height.
The horizontal graphite lines equal the number of years in the subject’s life. Like the rings of a tree where a year with plentiful rain produced wider rings and drought the opposite, the distance between the lines corresponds to whether it was a good year (expansive-wide) or a bad year (reductive-narrow) for the subject.
The graphite lines from the paintings extend onto the walls and may connect with adjacent portraits.
ARTISTIC PROCESS and CATEGORIES OF WATER
The action/gesture of the initial paint application corresponds to the feeling of force/energy from a person’s biography. After the paint is thrown, the “Water Type" is determined by the appearance of the result.
COLOR and SYMBOLISM
Color choices reflect biographical information, symbolic or real.
Finally, the editing process uses black or white paint, tones which I consider neutral.
After more than 20 years of experimentation, scouring performance, video, photography, installation and digital media for ways to make representation more neutral, I found my holy grail in a return to abstraction, locating a groundbreaking way to represent people using a biographical framework as a point of departure.
New York based artist, Megan Dyer, has been a working artist for the last 20 years exhibiting in the United States and Europe.
Selected Group Exhibitions
ATM Gallery, Curated by Chris Cobb, NYC
Primary Secondary, Curated by Denise Markonish, North Adams, MA
Galleri A, Oslo, Norway
Pop Up: Curated by Julian Hoberman, West Hollywood, CA
APT: Curated by Casey Ruble, Brooklyn, NY
Special: Artists Select Artists, Kustera Tilton Gallery, NYC
From the Collection, Rogaland Kunstmueum, Stavanger, Norway
A Salon for Painters curated by Ross Bleckner, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, NYC
Oslo-New York-Oslo, “Different Directions”, Galleri A, Oslo, Norway
Inverse, Galleri 21/25, Oslo, Norway
From the Collection, Rogaland Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, Norway
Envisioning Peace, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
Hunter College, Times Square Gallery, NYC
Everything is Everything, Brooklyn, NY
It Had To Be You, Open for All Gallery, NYC
Fahrenheit 100+, Croton Council for the Arts
Transformator, Galleri A Minor,
Oslo, Norway, 2006
Macro-Micro, Times Square Gallery
New York, NY, 2000
Art News, Vol. 104, Issue #3, March, 2005
Aftenposten, Friday, February 17, 2006
Waterfront Weekly, Vol. 7, Spring Issue
Parafin, Vol. 29, Spring Issue
Folk Magazine, Kulture, No. 1, 2021
Hyperallergic, July 11, 2019
New York Times, July 22, 2019
AM NY, The Villager, May 2022
Rogaland Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, Norway