Portrait of the Artist

Meghan Brady

Second Hand

By Noelani Kirschner | July 29, 2019
SECOND HAND 2, 2019, acrylic, collage, paper on Tyvek, 90 x 166 inches.
SECOND HAND 2, 2019, acrylic, collage, paper on Tyvek, 90 x 166 inches.

Not long ago, Meghan Brady found herself moving away from oil-on-canvas works and into explorations of space in large-scale collage. “In my heart of hearts, I’m a painter in the most mundane sense,” she says. “But I’ve been doing my paper pieces for two years now. They let me into different spaces and allow for more exciting opportunities.”

Most recently, for an exhibition at Space 538, a gallery in Portland, Maine, Brady constructed site-specific wall-hangings. She started by painting acrylic on paper, letting it dry, and then cutting up her paintings and gluing them back together in a collaged arrangement. “I had to make paintings that fit the space, so I bumped up the scale to be wall-sized,” Brady explains. “In doing that, I shed the stretched canvas and moved into collaged paper.” The works loom like geometric giants over the visitors, enticing them into a world of whimsical structure. In one piece, the artist pairs electric purples with lime greens in rectangular arrangements; in another, spotted brown snakes emerge from a mustard yellow and muted orange background comprised of pyramids.

  • SECOND HAND 1, 2019, acrylic, collage, paper on Tyvek, 133 x 99 inches.

These collages, part of a series titled Second Hand, are not only playful. “I’m trying to build something that’s simple and clear but that alludes to something more without hitting you over the head,” Brady says. “I was thinking about translations and how those are altered when you hear them second hand.” And if viewers look closely, they might find the second hands of clocks emerging from the background of some of the works—a visual game of hide and seek typical of these pieces.

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