Maggie Meiners: Revisiting Rockwell
I’ve always love photographs based on paintings and Maggie Meiner’s project, Revisiting Rockwell, is no exception. The idea of using Rockwell’s illustrative images as inspiration for photographs is a bit of a meta endeavor as it was discovered that Rockwell’s work was based on photographs that he orchestrated. The idea of revisiting these iconic illustrations is made more interesting by Maggie’s exploration of contemporary subject matter, leading her to the conclusion that the past is not so different than the present. Maggie has an exhibition of this series at the Ann Loucks Gallery in Glencoe, IL running through June 10.
Maggie is an artist and photographer whose work investigates connection with herself, others, and the world at large. Born and raised outside of Chicago, she holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Colorado-Boulder and a Masters in Education from De Paul University in Chicago.
In 2015, Maggie received a 3rd place honor from Juror, David E. Little in the exhibition, Portraits, at the Minneapolis Photo Center. Most recently her work was featured at FotoFever in Paris, and she will be exhibiting her latest body of work, Revisiting Rockwell in a solo exhibition at the Warren Family Gallery at the Berkshire School in 2016. Her photographs have been widely exhibited and remain in the permanent collections of the Illinois Institute of Art, Wheaton College, Harrison Street Lofts, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP and numerous private collections. She was the winner of the 2008 Multimedia Exhibition, Gallery 180, Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, the 2009 Ragdale Prize and was part of the Official Selection 2011 PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris. Maggie had her first solo exhibition in 2005 at The Union League Club of Chicago– one of the most esteemed private collectors of art in the country.
In addition to her personal projects, Maggie balances her art with client work where she specializes in brand narrative and story telling.
As a child, I was always intrigued by Norman Rockwell’s prolific cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, a newspaper he considered to be “the greatest show window in America. His paintings capture his observations of early to mid-20th-century life in America. While the general, and often humorous, stories told by his paintings – from a child who is sent to the principal’s office, to an exulted war hero and the anticipation of a Thanksgiving meal – remain as American as ever. It was recently discovered that Rockwell produced his paintings from staged photographs either shot by him or shot by an assistant – the photograph was a template for the final product.
With this revelation, I am exploring Rockwell’s work where the photograph is the final product. My project, Revisiting Rockwell, attempts to contemporize Rockwell’s original works by weaving into each photograph the social issues and elements more suggestive of today. I am examining whether the nostalgia of Rockwell’s work translates into our rapidly changing lifestyles and his very human tableaux can reflect this moment in time. I am drawn to Rockwell’s work because I have always had a fascination with the past and end up having a better understanding of the world if I look at the old in the context of the new. As I continue to examine Rockwell’s work, I have noticed, for better or worse, that while sociological landscape has changed in many ways, there is much that remains the same.
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