Alexandria, VA—From beetles to bees, acrylic painter Megan Partridge investigates her inner psyche with ephemeral, colorful, entomological self-portraits. Through wry humor and expressive brushwork, Partridge takes a closer look at these tiny creatures that are often overlooked in “Bugs. Or Kafka on Prozac.” on view at The Art League gallery April 10—May 5, 2019.
Splendid and glowing, Partridge’s insect collection is a jewel box. The artist imparts each arthropod with a personality as distinct as their biology, from the bedraggled bug aptly named Hangover Cricket to the speeding blur in Super Bee. According to Partridge, the paintings are an exploration of herself, “one bug at a time.”
In Super Bee, an intensely focused honey bee hurtles through space, with malachite eyes ablaze. “He represents hypomania. For me, that means the good zone where joy and productivity meet,” Partridge remarked.
Partridge uses techniques that suit the unique appearance of each bug, choosing gestural hatch marks to capture the prismatic translucence of a wing or thick layers of paint to shape the sturdy abdomen of a cricket. “There’s so much character in just one species, and there’s humor in all of them,” she remarked.
An autobiography painted through entomology, Partridge’s exhibit is unafraid of self-scrutiny. She is frank about her emotional health, commenting “You define yourself by all of your parts, not just your best one. Even if my bugs are imperfect as paintings, that’s okay. I’m an imperfect person.”
Megan Partridge is a self-taught artist residing in the District of Columbia. She currently holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Duke University. Partridge, like approximately ten percent of the population, lives with a condition named aphantasia – a blind mind’s eye. Ever since, she has looked at making art as an opportunity to find new ways to explore herself and visually represent her own thoughts and feelings. Art affords her a vocabulary to translate her mind and thoughts into something visual. Regardless of the subject or style, Partridge’s work inevitably speaks to who she is.
(located in the Torpedo Factory Art Center)
Alexandria, VA 22314
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