Meg Aubrey emphasizes white space in I Just Live Here

Thursday January 29, 2009 01:00 pm EST

Meg Aubrey’s MFA thesis show, I Just Live Here, at Gallery Stokes is like a debutante ball: Both serve up white, southern womanhood with a saccharine aftertaste to feed mythologies of place and time.

Aubrey’s 10 medium-size oil paintings pursue a cast of female characters through prosperity-era, suburban America. In “New Tree,” two women sit facing each other in spindly patio chairs at a stiff little cafe table. The painting is keyed-up so that the light has an overexposed, sun-drenched quality. We might imagine a shopping center parking lot or mini-mall courtyard behind them, but such context has been removed. Instead, a flat wash of solid sky blue fills the background and middle distance. Just off to the right in the midst of this arid environment, an impossible little tree grows, artificially tied down in an artificial circle of artificially manicured grass.

All the women in Aubrey’s paintings inhabit similar deserts of suburban precision.

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