Megan Mosholder: Pushing the Boundaries of Painting

“It’s hard to sell site-specific, temporary installations,” says Megan Mosholder who just finished up a residency at VCCA. “So, I’m looking for ways to articulate my three-dimensional ideas two dimensionally as a way to sustain my practice.”

When referring to these works, she calls them paintings, but they retain a strong sculptural quality. To make them, Megan takes a stretcher frame and secures lengths of brightly colored nylon string to eyes screwed at intervals into the stretcher bars. With its undulating lines of colored string, the piece now resembles a reductive, flattened version of her large-scale sculptural work. But this resemblance changes when she covers it with a piece of white silk.

The silk has different levels of transparency, in some works you can see the individual lines of string, in others, the silk blurs the string creating a kind of colored shadow or aura. Megan’s trying to figure out if the string should be recognizable or not; it’s certainly a labor intensive way of achieving an effect, but it’s what she does and she believes that people who know her work will understand what’s going on. The fact that you can see the frame through the silk appeals to her; she intentionally exposes her materials so there’s no mystery as to what she’s using  to build paintings and installations.”

Putting the finishing touches on the work, Megan adds paint and glitter to the surface. “I use a lot of light in my work and glitter is a way of capturing light,” she explains.  

She sees this work as a comment on the state of painting today. “Both my degrees are in painting. There’s that constant talk about painting being dead,” she says. “This has been going on for over a hundred years — ever since photography came out. But it forces painters to find ways to stretch and push boundaries. I like the idea that a painter can do whatever a painter wants and still call it painting.” For her, this means using the traditional structure, but without a traditional surface. “What’s happening in this space with no canvas — I think that’s an interesting conversation.”

Megan credits Terasita Fernandez with whom she interned in Brooklyn, with pushing her in the direction of installation. She also urged Megan to become involved in residencies. Megan ended up spending five months straight doing just that, followed by a year living with her parents to regroup financially.

Thereafter, Megan moved to Atlanta where she feels embraced by the arts community. She cites in particular, Michael Rooks, the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the High Museum who has been very supportive of her, even nominating her as a Georgia Woman to Watch candidate for the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  

Megan’s residency experience continues: she was recently accepted into Atlanta’s long-term residency program: The Creatives Project, which provides both studio space and housing.

At the behest of her fellow VCCA Fellows, Megan installed a light sculpture, Ode to James Turrell (pictured. NB: this is not one of her paintings.) in the skylight of VA6. The piece includes black lights and the optimum viewing time is after dark when the UV sensitive string glows. It’s a wonderful souvenir left behind at VCCA by this very interesting artist.


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