The conversation with Meghan Petras took place at a space in Chelsea where she recently hung a small solo show. All of the works were part of a body of work created within the course of a few weeks keeping in mind the space in which they would be exhibited. The works in the exhibition were chosen from a larger group of small oil paintings connected by the time frame in which they were made, their media and subject matter. Meghan described this group of paintings as a reaction to periphery subject matter and related them to human interactions with nature. Many of the works were referential, with each ruminating on different flora and fauna while experimenting with the medium of oil paint.
Looking at a diptych of puppies wearing top hats and a flattened plane of roses sketched radially, the group discussed kitsch in relation to the imagery, invention, and handling of materials within the paintings. The point at which the work transcends kitsch and where it butts heads with taste was an area of contention within the group conversation. Whether the most abstract or non-referential piece in the show was out of place or whether it held the other work together was also debated.
Though she has been making 2-D images for the past few years, Meghan’s background and training is in sculpture. We discussed the difference between practices and the challenges of painting from a sculptural stand-point.