Beth Meadows

Otherlands Opening

"17th Street Studios", "art", "exhibit", "family", "food", "friends", "home", "thankful"B2 Comments
I didn't write last week (breaking one of my two rules) because I was in Memphis for an opening Thursday evening. I apologize for my indiscretion.

I was pretty nervous about having my first show in Memphis. It helped that Otherlands is a laid back atmosphere, but I don't know, anything new makes me flustered; I morph into a deer in headlights.

But everything went well and lots of people came, even people I hadn't seen in over a decade! It was great. There was lots of wine and great food my sweet mother brought.

Sidenote: Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I usually have pretty awesome food at my openings; it's just not something worth missing if you're ever in the same city. Maybe word has spread because I think a couple of people just came for the food. Boy, were they happy.

Anyway, openings are exhausting and strange, but I've warmed up to them over time. They used to put me in a strange place, pushing me into hyper-reclusive mode for a few days after. I would also become really sensitive after shows.

Now, when the end comes, I say, "Let's go have a beer," and typically feel happy, relieved. Maybe I'm becoming less introverted, it's hard to tell.

This show in Memphis is a step in the right direction. I've been wanting to have a show in a city other than Knoxville for a long time, and it finally happened. It's been hard to make contacts or nail down dates in other cities. Nashville is giving me fits. People won't tell me yes or no, or some say yes, but nothing is set in stone.

I did just find out I've been accepted to show work at the Tomato Head in Market Square and Maryville sometime between July and January. I'm also so excited that 17th Street Studios (the studios I co-manage) is having our first group show on May 4th at the Fluorescent Gallery in Knoxville. Mark your calendars.

So I have some deadlines to get my blood flowing a little faster.

I'd like to share my artist statement from my show at Otherlands. I used a short statement from my show in November and built on it.

It's hard to write about my work in such detail. I've gotten used to being incredibly concise, but elaborating on what I'm doing is helping me learn why it is I'm making what I'm making, something that has been cloudy for a while.

Golden Friends

So here it is, imperfect in it's ability to convey everything I'd like, but close enough for now:

I think about my childhood a lot, especially when I'm driving around at night. I am intrigued by how strongly we are connected to memories from our past. I think about the similarities between being young and being an adult, how we are subject to struggles outside of our control no matter how old we are, and how there is never a time where we are free from pain or heartache.

These paintings are imagined narratives based on personal experience. Many are inspired by people I know or places I've seen, and most were made to cope with difficult situations I've encountered. I use setting, space, and figures to convey a somber and quiet emotional state. Some are empty and some show a degree of pain or discomfort.

There are elements that run in and out of each painting that are a result of being fascinated with certain things- women's fashion, modern design, historic architecture, children’s books. I am also inspired by certain music and films and really (really) like animals. I integrate these mild obsessions into my paintings to add humor, beauty, even innocence.

As a whole, most of these paintings are both lighthearted and heavy to reflect the pain and joy we experience simultaneously throughout a lifetime.