C’ville Art Blog: The Whimsical World of Jessie Meehan

Detail of "From The Rooftop" by Jessie Meehan. Detail of “From The Rooftop” by Jessie Meehan.

The Firefish Gallery is currently showcasing a collection of works by local artist Jessie Meehan that approaches painting in a refreshing and imaginative way.

The body of work, titled “Tiny Lights,” is united by many elements, including the use of white pin points, stars or “tiny lights” that show up in each piece. The artist also layers geometric shapes in every piece, creating a sense of space and movement through the use of visual building blocks. In addition, her contrast of warm and cool colors creates a rich palette that throbs with light. It is exciting to see crisp clean paint application that is technically precise and forms that are rendered with a believable sense of lighting. Furthermore, the fun, unusual narratives that develop out of the work are vibrant and unexpected.

It is interesting to note that the artist does not always enter into a project with a predetermined plan.  This leads to varying degree of successes in the work. Some of Meehan’s paintings develop a strong sense of invention. The layered forms accentuate a specific mood and narrative. However a few of her paintings seem loose and uncongealed. Maheen’s stream-of-conscious process creations, by their nature, trend toward the generic, and when not carefully directed they become murky. For example, “From the Rooftop” looks almost impressionistic in parts and highly illustrative in others. The landscape refused to become or remain a landscape and the sense of atmosphere is solely supported by curious and wispy balls of light. The forms are not grounded, and the paint application is erratic at times. Comparatively, “On the Night the Opossum Died, Cicadas Came to Kiss Her Eyes” feels like a finished thought. The composition is designed to spiral out from the focal point, the colors are consistent throughout, and the paint application is clean, conveying the story concisely.

Overall, Meehan combines an interesting painting technique with a good color sensibility and an intriguing mix of pattern, repetition, fantastical realism and unusual composition. The show is just fun! It’s as simple as that.

~Rose Guterbock and Aaron Miller