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'The Legacy of Lily White' to blur lines between monstrous, exotic

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:02

Exhibit to blur lines between monstrous, exotic

George Mattingly | The Houstonian

BLURRING LINES: This photo by Margaret Meeham uses special effects makeup to depict a woman with full facial hair in “The Legacy of Lily White”.

A Dallas artist will juxtapose the grotesque and beautiful to explore society’s response to differences in her exhibit, “The Legacy of Lily White” opening today at 5 p.m.

Visiting artist Margaret Meeham will showcase pieces in a remounting of her exhibit in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, which features photography, sculpture and drawings as part in her “Pugilist” series.

“All of my work is based on the idea of differences [among people] and how society tries to address it,” Meeham said. “[The exhibit] is about how we understand differences and who we’re taught to fear and who we care for.”

Meehan received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. Her work has been on display in various galleries nationally, including the Soil Gallery in Seattle and several galleries across Texas.

“The Legacy of Lily White” features pieces that aim to blur the lines between the exotic and monstrous.

Other large photographs feature seemingly innocent women dressed in white dresses, but who are also bloody, wearing boxing gloves and have faces full of hair that aim to “make whiteness strange.”

“I wanted to create something that was grotesque and exotic to blur the lines between fear and innocence,” Meeham said. “The exhibit is also about contradictions. Just because someone is different doesn’t mean they’re good or bad. Sometimes we just prejudge people based on what we see.”

Meeham said the exhibit has not gone without its challenges working with photography ans special effects makeup for the first time.

However, Meeham said she accomplished her goal of cohesive characters and concept.

In addition to showcasing her exhibit, Meeham has also taught master classes and critiqued student works.

Meeham said that while she is at SHSU as a guest, she hopes students will learn something from her work and open their minds to new art media.

“I hope they learn that they don’t have to be locked into just one medium,” Meeham said. “They should allow themselves to be informed by their ideas and their media to make it interesting for the audience.”

Meeham also shared her advice for art students who are graduating soon.

“Work hard and do more than just your assignment. Details matter.”

Meeham will give a lecture on her work today from 5 to 6 p.m. in Art Building E Room 108, followed by an opening reception beginning at 6 p.m. in 3G in Art Building F Room 101.

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