MAGGIE MEINERS (b.1972, Chicago)Maggie Meiners is an artist and film- maker whose work revolves around themes of self-critique and authenticity. She employs various mediums and the modes of appropriation, deconstruction, and collage and applies them through the lens of humor and feminism. Cultural artifacts and images from popular culture and consumerism portray the dichotomies of the gendered psyche to symbolize the feminine through notions of domesticity, beauty, and body image. Born and raised outside of Chicago, she holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from University of Colorado-Boulder, a Masters in Education from De Paul University in Chicago and received her MFA from Maine Media College in May 2021.
In 2016, Maggie debuted her series, Revisiting Rockwell, in a solo exhibition at Anne Loucks Gallery in Glencoe, IL. In 2017 the work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, OH and traveled to other venues nationally and internationally. In February 2021, Revisiting Rockwell will be exhibited at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, NJ. Maggie’s art has been widely exhibited and remains in the permanent collections of the Illinois Institute of Art, Wheaton College, Harrison Street Lofts, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP and numerous private collections. In addition, her work was on loan at the American Embassy in Uruguay from 2016-2019.
In April 2019, Maggie’s first film, The Little Black Dress, was nominated for Best Mobile Short at the Indie Shorts Fest (Los Angeles International Film Festival) and is an Official Selection in The International Women’s Film Festival and the LA Neo Noir Film Festival, as well. Maggie had her first solo exhibition in 2005 at The Union League Club of Chicago– one of the most esteemed private collectors of art in the country and is represented by the Anne Loucks Gallery in Glencoe IL.
As a child, I was always intrigued by Norman Rockwell’s prolific cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, a newspaper he considered to be “the greatest show window in America. His paintings capture his observations of early to mid-20th-century life in America. While the general, and often humorous, stories told by his paintings – from a child who is sent to the principal’s office, to an exulted war hero and the anticipation of a Thanksgiving meal – remain as American as ever. It was recently discovered that Rockwell produced his paintings from staged photographs either shot by him or shot by an assistant – the photograph was a template for the final product.
With this revelation, I am exploring Rockwell’s work where the photograph is the final product. My project, Revisiting Rockwell, attempts to contemporize Rockwell’s original works by weaving into each photograph the social issues and elements more suggestive of today. I am examining whether the nostalgia of Rockwell’s work translates into our rapidly changing lifestyles and his very human tableaux can reflect this moment in time. I am drawn to Rockwell’s work because I have always had a fascination with the past and end up having a better understanding of the world if I look at the old in the context of the new. As I continue to examine Rockwell’s work, I have noticed, for better or worse, that while sociological landscape has changed in many ways, there is much that remains the same.
What does “Gaze” mean to you & how do you connect it to your work?
My interpretation of the female gaze is how a female identifying person sees themself and thus puts that image out in the world. It is empowering and subjective, but owned by the womxn themself. The female gaze is often connected through my work as I explore the dichotomies of the gendered psyche to symbolize the feminine through notions of domesticity, beauty, and body image.