Young artist Megan Oag’s recent show, “Chiseled Visual” held at Norman Felix Gallery provided a visual and tactile treat for the lucky guests fortunate enough swing by in time to get a taste of it. Her pieces are defined by the unique juxtaposition which they create, a contrast between the rough, earthy mediums of wood, metal, plaster, and wire with which she works, and her graceful composition of these elements to form a harmonious structure. Her works are encased by a thick and glossy layer of finishing lacquer, which adds a certain and unexpected refinement to her pieces, and increases their tactile appeal. It is the bold tactility of Megan’s work that stands out the most, and makes it particularly irresistible to viewers. Fascinating textures are created by her combinations of industrial materials and thick layers of darkly painted plaster, which coupled with a smooth, juicy-looking glaze creates a sensually delightful result.
At the Chiseled Visual opening reception, held October 14th, guests could be caught trying to sneakily cop a feel of their favourite piece, enchanted by the contradictory blend of coarseness and fragility that her work embodies. Most would have been surprised to discover that, rather than feeling like the rock solid weights of fifty pounds each that her pieces appear to be, they are actually quite delicate to the touch, weighing little more than any other laden canvas while appearing to be wrought of solid metal.
Another layer of interest reveals itself when we consider the history of the materials that Megan has incorporated into her pieces, some of which have a lost-and-found quality reminiscent of the ‘found objects’ which Rauschenberg featured in his 1950’s Combines. We are tempted to ask, where did she encounter this object? Why did she use it, and how come this way? Does it have some particular significance to her, or to us? The horseshoe-shaped metal fragment featured prominently in the B6/B7 duo (above) bids these questions, bringing to mind notions of heirloom luck and superstition, and nostalgic memories of horseback riding, or tossing horseshoes on a farm. Megan found this treasure while wandering along the train tracks, and made it the centrepiece of this canvas duo. When confronted with Metal Dam (below), one cannot help but wonder about the location and history of the trees on which these twisting branches once grew. In fact, she gathered the branches from beach driftwood, so the piece acts as a multicultural collage with a particularly mysterious and complex history of separate elements which have been unified and refurbished to create a new entity.
Rough nature, raw industry and refined luxury come together in this captivating show by Megan Oag, allowing viewers to experience a complex taste of the mystery, nostalgia, delicacy, robustness and wilderness which enliven it. And have I mentioned the astounding fact that Megan has managed to raise over $1,700 for the Cancer Society with this show alone? Megan is proving herself to be a vivacious young artist who knows how to dedicate herself to a meaningful cause, be it the simple creation of her artwork, or her bold support of a cause which matters. Megan Oag’s uniqueness of style and vision is the harbinger of great things yet to come from this artist, from whom I look forward to seeing much more in the future.