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Mad Meg’s Absorbing, Multilayered Drawings

Illustrator Mad Meg constructs massive drawings that contain layers upon layers. She often uses insect heads as a recurring visual theme, adapting even pieces from art history into new works and satire. But further than that, pieces like “Patriarch No. 4,” at 39 inches by 79 inches, contain bewildering detail on a micro level.


Illustrator Mad Meg constructs massive drawings that contain layers upon layers. She often uses insect heads as a recurring visual theme, adapting even pieces from art history into new works and satire. But further than that, pieces like “Patriarch No. 4,” at 39 inches by 79 inches, contain bewildering detail on a micro level.

Often hidden within these pieces are texts of varying cultures. The artist says she enjoys writing as both a way to add texture and context to art. “But I am interested in the meaning of the text also,” the artist told D.A.T.E. Hub, about the consistent use of legible text throughout the pieces. “Sometimes copying allows me to understand what is written. In [‘Patriarch No. 4’] I copy the book ‘Métaphysique Cannibales’ by Eduardo Vivieiros de Castro, which was given to me as a present because of its title. I’m obsessed with Cannibalism; I would like to talk about it more. When I tried to read this book, I did not understand a word. The title was enough for me to know that I wanted to use it as a texture for a carnivorous patriarch; El Matador. Copying allowed me to enter a sentence or two but no more. Nevertheless the book was written in French.”

The artist’s fascination with insects offers a constant exploration of the line between beauty and horror. Even in their unsettling detail, there’s a regal quality to the creatures, as presented.

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