Megan Dyck is an artist and educator living and working in Calgary, AB. Originally from Lethbridge, Alberta, she received her MFA from the University of Victoria (2014) and holds a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design (2010). Engaging a range of media, Dyck has participated in residencies in Canada, and internationally (Textîlsetur Îslands, Blönduós, Iceland, 2017). In addition to her studio practice, Megan teaches drawing, painting, and design courses at ACAD and the University of Calgary.
In my current studio research, I am concerned with investigating such psychological motifs as the uncanny through the construction of drawings, paintings, animations, and installations that exist in a familiar, yet surreal realm. Using a range of materials and methodologies, my pictorial and sculptural works act as re-imagined proxies of everyday acquaintances as well as those intimately present in my life: co-opting unique personas befitting of their respective idiosyncrasies — often introspective, and playfully quizzical. My most recent drawings and paintings are an extension of my interest in visually exploring the notion of self-othering and the act of daydreaming via a conflation of fragmented and lucid recollections of certain people whom I have known in varying capacities over the last several years. In an attempt to beseech drawing and painting to function in a cinematic capacity, these pictorial conceptions of myself and others function for me as still shots or ‘captures’ extracted from a stream-of-consciousness film — a latent caressing of memory.
Here, in the context of expanded portraiture, painting becomes a lens for re-examining that which is at once both familiar and foreign in the human face: an activation of the struggle to penetrate the unconscious through the study of physiognomy. In my new paintings and drawings, this struggle is particularly manifest through the act of working from a single photograph to create two or three images of the same person within a single painting: effectively rendering a near-replica of the initial painted version, though with subtly altered inflections of emotional conveyance, wherein augmentations of expression and mood are present — yet scarcely distinguishable when comparing the likenesses one to the other. This act of depicting multiples of the same image in succession is a further attempt at illustrating the ever-shifting and at times unpredictably duplicitous nature of the subconscious imagination, particularly as it may be said to oscillate, if imperceptibly, between such divergent modes as sardonic rumination and hedonistic obsession. In this way, my portraits are specifically focused on exploring facial expressions that are not easily deciphered: extrapolating photos of individuals who appear to occupy taciturn, engrossed, dazed, and enamored psychological states simultaneously. I am deeply interested in exploring these sorts of emotionally unplaceable photos of people due to their ability to capacitate a multitude of encrypted messages, and the variable nature of the narratives which they come to suggest when devoid of background content.
Further explorations of dissonant psychological realms are investigated through my earlier works in the form of abstract drawings and sculptures. These iterations are similarly concerned with themes of indwelling contradictions, though examined through the lens of anthropomorphic representations of archetypes of the unconscious as suggested by Jungian conceptions of the anima and animus. Here, physical attributes expressly suggestive of form or function are muddled to create duplicitous objects that exist under the guise of sheer decoration, yet persist in beckoning surreptitiously mundane utilitarian interactions in spite of their inability to perform in any useful way. By conflating ornamental and utilitarian qualities within a single object, my sculptures and installations aim to mirror the turbidity of the human psyche by fusing the stable with the fragile, the abject with the sublime, and the familiar with the unknown.
The re-contextualizing of familiar surfaces and forms herein leads to the creation of shifty object-characters of an unpredictable nature. New personas are subsequently cast onto these hybrids as they defy the positions implied by their vaguely useful appendages and familiar scale in relation to everyday objects and the human body. Signaling benignly vacant interactions and inciting curious recollections of real and imagined beings, these works attempt to mimic the incongruous relationship between the conscious and the unconscious by amalgamating aesthetic characteristics which stand in seeming opposition to one-another. The invariably tenuous nature of repressed desires, as well as the psychological states of detachment and de-realization, respectively, are hereby explored through the co-inhabitation of both sensual and clinical attributes residing within a single object as divulged through form, surface texture, and scale.