Megan Ellen MacDonald: Unnatural Order
26 March to 22 May, 2022
Glenhyrst Art Gallery
In this exhibition, artist Megan Ellen MacDonald uses symbolism found in historical still life and landscape painting to examine themes of femininity, power, and beauty. Her paintings balance the ambiguous with the suggestive, prompting the viewer to question what they really see and why they’re seeing it. MacDonald’s paintings begin as 3D models and are later translated into meticulously-detailed oil paintings. Her glowing colour palette is influenced by the fantastical visions of science fiction, the loud aesthetics of pop culture, and the sentimentality of kitsch. She embraces the “naïve” or “banal” subject matter often found in kitsch art while introducing meaningful symbols and motifs from everyday life such as food, water, death, and desire. Several paintings in the exhibition were inspired by the flora and fauna of the Grand River in Brantford, Ontario, as well as paintings in Glenhyrst’s collection by artists Norval Morrisseau and John Hicks Whale. The result is a super-modern interpretation of contemporary painting, vernacular life, and the land we tred on.
About the Artist
Megan Ellen MacDonald (b. 1990) was born in Belleville, Ontario and graduated from OCAD University in 2013 with a BFA in Drawing and Painting. MacDonald’s paintings challenge the pre-established aesthetic hierarchy by creating a visual language out of things considered both diminutive and feminine. Her still-life arrangements – first created using 3D software and “documented” as paintings – depict intimate and destructive relationships between objects as an exploration of what it means to embrace both femininity and power. MacDonald has exhibited paintings in Canada, Europe, and the United States. In 2021, her debut US exhibition “Modern Love” opened at Hashimoto Gallery in Los Angeles, California. MacDonald currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. Brantford is situated on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery is fully accessible and includes an elevator and accessible washroom. The main entrance is accessed by a concrete pathway and may be opened with an automatic door opener. For assistance or questions about the gallery, please call us. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.