Megan Bickel

Megan Bickel is an artist, writer, and educator currently working out of Louisville, Kentucky. Her work considers and utilizes various approaches and technologies such as painting, data manipulation, digital collage, database reconfiguration, and poetry. Bickel’s work has been exhibited at the Speed Art Museum (Louisville, KY), University of Chicago Logan Center (Chicago, IL), LADIES ROOM LA (Los Angeles, California), KMAC Museum (Louisville, KY), Georgetown College (Georgetown, KY), QUAPPI Projects (Louisville, KY), Art Academy of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Oh), and MADS Mixed Reality Gallery (Milan, Italy).

She received her MFA from the University of Louisville with Honors in 2021.


Artist Statement

"I make objects, paintings, and videos that abstract or oscillate between announcing and concealing meaning. The resulting work cultivates unserious fields of imagery and installations that interrogate what it means to be visually critical in the 2020s and the future. I do this to playfully mimic, mock, and question the American confrontation between the public and the intertwined spectacle of journalism, political science, advertising, and propaganda. The resulting work embraces the absurdity of painterly abstraction against fictional digital landscapes superimposed onto real landscapes. This is done by using the visual language (mark-making) associated with Post-Digital Painting and Casualism, two painterly modalities that question(ed) the ethically fraught relationships between military technologies (specifically digital and screen technologies) and Paintings’ relationship to the economy.

 

The Blazing-World explores new ideas for me, particularly those around the iconography of safety as a visual metaphor for systemic control and management. We see safety cones, plastic netting, and fencing amongst rocks in collapse and compartmentalization. Utopic agrarian landscapes expand and contract. The wilderness merges and breaks with holographic textiles reflecting in the light. The images use the wilderness–or the imitation of–alongside visions of safety to question illusions of control and its relationship to state control.

 

The exhibition title, The Blazing-World, refers to a book of the same name by Margaret Cavendish; a British philosopher, poet, speculative science fiction writer, and playwright who lived in the Seventeenth Century. The text was a piece of science fiction that was published as a companion piece to Observations upon Experimental Philosophy (1668, 1688). While Experimental Philosophy considered Natural Philosophy and Logic popular of the time, The Blazing-World was an early adaption of science fiction, by about a century, which served as a critique and explored issues such as gender, science, and power." -- Megan Bickel

 

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