The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
In the Project Space at the Crane Arts Building, Megan Bogert is showing off a number of her recent works in a show entitled “Strands of Consciousness.” All of the compositions included in the space are assembled from sustainable or recycled materials, and the result is an environmentally conscious show whose process itself is organic and free-form.
Bogert’s two-dimensional works focus on the effects of composting and rusting on fabrics. Much of her work alludes to the march of time and the degradation of materials. Decomposition is all around us, whether in cities or rural areas – old structures being overtaken by vines, rusted railroad tracks, rotting trees, and piles of composted material – they are all natural, and Bogert makes it a point to embrace their beauty instead of stray away from these themes. Her tiny canvases show the rust-colored hues and earth tones present in these breakdowns. She then works in outlines and accents of thread and beads to break up the naturally formed patterns.
Other works are far more sculptural in their appearance. One rocky-looking relief hangs on the wall full of pockets, craters and crags. While its form mimics that of a rough stone cliff, it is actually pressed from paper pulp. Peeking out of a number of crevices are houseplants rooted in dark brown dirt. The colors of the soil and the green plants stand out sharply against the solid grayish construction bringing to mind the cycle of death and rebirth that occurs around us every day.
A piece bound by twine mimics the fractal patterns of webs, appearing somewhere between a spider’s home and a bird’s branchy nest. Some of the empty areas surrounded by the rope-like lattices are filled with the same rusty, stained fabric that appears in Bogert’s other works, making her artistic life cycle truly come full circle.
Everything in this exhibit is based in the style of improvisation, the natural process of quieting the mind and allowing the body to do the work. A faceted collage of recycled papers includes small segments of sheet music, drawing a smart parallel between her aesthetic choices and the act of musical improvisation. Bogert explains that her work is assembled much in the same way that writers utilize free-writing techniques, placing her images squarely in the realm of artistic intuition.
With one eye on the environment and one eye on a free-wheeling process, Megan Bogert creates forms which cross into a number of creative regions. Made sustainably and intuitively, her artwork hints at ideas that would be wise for us all to consider. “Strands of Consciousness” will be on view through December 11.
The Crane Arts Building is located at 1400 N. American St., Philadelphia; firstname.lastname@example.org; cranearts.com.