Oliver Coley, our summer intern from Smith College, wrote the following reaction to Ron Meick’s current solo exhibition at WPG. You can read more perspectives from Oliver over the next few weeks. Check back soon!
As I walked around the gallery looking at Ron Meick’s colorful monotypes, I appreciated the small labels, showing the thoughts behind some of his pieces that were scattered throughout the room. Dealing with themes of de-construction and re-construction, the crumpled paper prints are coded with rich context waiting to be deciphered. In “Yellow Dog” and “Yellow Dog II,” the excavated skeleton of a dog has been disassembled and printed on the folded and crumpled paper. To Meick, the marks of the re-arranged bones represent the marks left by our attachment to animals. Around the corner, the Mandarin character of Tibet has been broken into pieces and re-arranged as shapes across the paper. The fragments of the character stand for the culture of Tibet, broken up across the page to represent the Chinese Huns’ attempt to dismantle it.
Across from “Mandarin character of Tibet,” and sitting in the center of the room, Meick’s piece “Crumpled Print” walks the line between print and sculpture. The prints are monotypes that have been printed, colored, crumpled, and then placed under protective glass cubes. Where in some of his other pieces the paper was crumpled before printing, this piece generates a very different feeling of taking each carefully printed monotype and crushing it into a ball. In the action of crumpling, each print is transformed into an object that is then displayed under its own individual cube. Seeing a more three dimensional work really showcased the visual language that Meick works with, because although it was a different approach than his other work, the colors and mark making on each crumpled ball were very much connected to the rest of the prints.
Another set of prints that stood out stylistically from the rest were the two lithographs on the right side of the room. “Look of those with vanishing importance” and “Glimpse of those that faced the day” both depict a cluster of small colored ovals with little black sketches of people’s faces places inside each oval. These miniature portraits, printed using pebbles, are the faces of all the people who appear in a single issue of the Wall St. Journal. There is no crumpled paper or loose scratches and gestures in bold colors but you can still see Meick’s language in the fragments of information extracted from a source and arranged around the print. The title of the show, Extraktions, is very well fitted.