"The Unknown Consequences of Floating", a show by painter Megan McGuinness, is currently on view at the Ninkasi Brewery Tasting Room. McGuinness' paintings are vivid figurative works depicting mythical-looking women. What they lack in detail, they make up for in the boldness of their first impression.
The women of "Consequence" are empty-faced and exist in a state of oblivion. They share a common groundlessness, suspended in the purgatory of pattern and repetition born of McGuinness' brush-strokes. The figures are dressed as sloths, bulky and heavy, pecked by pigeons and holding onto the moon to avoid drifting back to Earth. These people are very clearly floating, and according to McGuinness, “floating is fine for a while, but there comes a time when one must fall, and awake.”
It is not difficult to identify with the sentiment of drifting through time and life. Aimlessness and ineffectiveness can be curses of modern day existence, characterized by the struggle to fend off both chaos and the mundane repetition of everyday life. Confusion over a life's purpose can be most explicitly named as floating, surviving without progressing, like the figures of McGuinness' paintings.
I couldn't tell you if these paintings are an expression of this symptom, the lost float, or the antidote to it. Is it art as escapism or redemption? Whether McGuinness is illustrating this condition, escaping from it into her paintings, or making painting her personal solution, it doesn't really matter because good art is born from a combination of reactions working to solve life's greatest question: what is the meaning of it?
And that is the great thing about art, it gives you a purpose or it takes it away, distracting you from thinking you have one for at least part of a day. The Unknown Consequences of Floating admits to both parts of this.
The Ninkasi Tasting Room is located at 272 Van Buren St. This show will be up until February 20th. Megan McGuinness' website: askthemoon.carbonmade.com