RICHMOND, Va. Megan Marlatt: Substitutions for a Game Never Played opens Friday, February 1, 2013 at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. The exhibition continues through March 13. An opening reception for the public will be held on Friday, February 1 from 6:00 – 8:00PM.
For the past ten years Megan Marlatt has painted mounds of plastic toys, creating artificial landscapes piled high with references to social / political issues, consumerism, environmental waste and pop culture. Technically masterful, Marlatt’s paintings and drawings are both comic and menacing, magnifying objects of childhood play to signify our immeasurable reliance on plastic. Recently, Marlatt’s interest in toys led her to paint puppet heads and capgrossos (“big heads” of Spain). Her process expanded, culminating in a series of papier-mâché capgrossos based on her own likeness. Wearing her “big head” for a monumental self-portrait and video (completed December 2012), Marlatt finally discovered a means to become one of the toys. This exhibition includes monumental paintings, works on paper, video, and sculpture created by Marlatt from 2005 – 2013.
“Marlatt’s show presents a decade-long development of her artistic process,”
says Caroline Wright, Director of Exhibition Programming at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. “These toys are skillfully painted, but they are also loaded politically, emotionally, and culturally. Not to mention how they magnify the magnitude of our immeasurable reliance on plastic.” Marlatt acknowledges that this series, which began as a self-initiated studio project in observational painting, has evolved into a commentary on plastic and mass consumerism. “It’s the depiction of plastic that I feel makes my work truly contemporary and where it can best make a contribution to the history of painting,” says Marlatt. “What is this matter that we have surrounded ourselves with in increasing amounts since the 1960’s and how do I make humans aware of its omnipresence in their lives?”
Megan Marlatt received her BFA from the Memphis College of Art, TN (1981), studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME (1985), and received her MFA at Rutgers University, NJ (1986). She has been a professor at the University of Virginia since 1988 where she is currently the McIntire Department of Art department chair.
Marlatt was one of the last individual artists to receive a Fellowship in Painting from the National Endowment for the Arts (1995). In addition, she has received other individual artist grants from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (2006), the Virginia Commission on the Arts (1996), and The New Jersey State Council on the Arts (1985).
During the last three years, she has been an artist in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, VA, the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner, WY, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Monaghan, Ireland, the Brush Creek Art Foundation in Saratoga, WY and Can Serrat in El Bruc, Spain. Her work is in the permanent collections of the peabody Museum, Harvard Univeristy; the Evansville Museum of Art and Randolf-Maconn Women’s College.
In conjunction with this exhibition and as part of a NEA Fast Track Challenge America 2013 grant, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond will host workshops led by Spanish artists David Ventura and Neus Hosta in early March. Marlatt studied with Ventura and Hosta in Spain in the summer of 2013 and used their studio techniques and cultural tradition to create several “big heads” on display in her exhibition.
Megan Marlatt: Substitutions for a Game Never Played is presented with support from Altria and the University of Virginia McIntire Department of Art and the University of Virginia Dean’s Research Support in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
Contact: Stacie Marshall
Phone: 804.353.0094 x 214