Sandra Meigs
The Giants

15 September to 22 October 2011


In preparation for her newest body of work, The Giants, Meigs sat inconspicuously in a corner of Victoria, British Columbia’s Inner Harbour for two consecutive summers observing the scores of tourists that pass through it on a daily basis. As they strolled, snacked, pointed, and snapped photos, Meigs drew character studies of these leisure bodies. Back in her studio, she enlarged and transposed her cartoons to panels using watercolours in a soft palette of yellows and greys. Each portrait is assembled from a number of tacked-on components: fabrics dyed in similar colours become idiosyncratic fashions of these boardwalk denizens, and painted glass spheres capture their bug-eyed stares underneath flip-up sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats. Words floating above and behind their heads suggest their preoccupying primal thoughts: buy, eat, look, nap.

Once completed, each “combine” painting was photographed and reproduced as a digital print near its original scale. Meigs then excised the “dead space” behind her constructions to create cutouts that deviate from the conventional square format of photographs (and painting for that matter). While each print effectively flattens her forms, their taut shapes return them to objects once again. Tacked to the wall without frames, each of The Giants mirror the tourists’ transitory movements and their fleeting presences in the harbour.

Upstairs, a trio of videos titled Three Places present a pub, a fishing cottage, and a crawl space with intense intimacy.