Jun 5th 2021

Although there will be no reception during our opening weekend, the artist will be present on Saturday, June 5th. Masks are required. Occupancy remains limited due to Covid-19 related precautions; priority will be given to those with appointments. You are welcome to come by without an appointment, but be prepared to wait outside if the Gallery’s occupancy is full.  

Goldfinch is happy to announce our second solo show with Meghan Borah, Polite Company. The exhibition opens on Saturday, June 5th and is on view in Gallery 1 through Saturday, July 17th.

Polite Company features new paintings and works on paper, all created in 2020 and 2021, during the solitary period of quarantine. The exhibition’s title phrase, says Borah, “grew from my ongoing fascination with authentic versus performative relationships. I felt the extra weight of this in isolation, when situations that would require being ‘polite’ were eliminated from daily life.”

Noting that her painting of dancers at the beloved and now-shuttered Danny’s Tavern stemmed from Borah’s personal reflections and “longing for intimate moments dancing with friends, [while at the same time] not missing the social anxieties that go along with performatively dancing next to strangers,” the Chicago-based painter says she strives to create “scenes that can be read as either/or/both, blurring the lines between intimate and awkward.” In Borah’s painted scenarios, two girls on a horse might be interpreted as a pair of lovers on a journey, yet their gazes, aimed outward towards the viewer, also suggest a self-conscious awareness that their intimacy is very much on public view.

Borah never limits herself to one medium but instead aims to create surfaces that shimmer slightly (through the addition of glass beads, for example), or have a faded quality (through her use of chalk and distemper)–sheens and textures that evoke fabrics like silk or denim. Indeed, the floral patterns and rich surface qualities of textiles have long served as an inspiration for Borah’s compositions and surface applications.

Borah cites the artist, poet and muse Marie Laurencin (1883-1956) as a painter whose work she returns to frequently. For a time, Laurencin served as the independent-minded muse of Guillaume Apollinaire and was the among the only female artists associated with the Section D’Or and Cubist group. Her paintings, with their centering of female figures engaged in activities of leisure, beautification, and nature forays, were in their time derided as mere “women’s art” due to their pastel palette, unapologetically decorative aesthetic, and celebration of simple, pretty things like flower bouquets, flowing scarves, woodland idylls and the freedom of riding on horseback.

Misunderstood in their own moment, Laurencin’s paintings emphasized the value of a feminine interiority that, if viewed from today’s fresh perspectives on gender fluidity, can be claimed and inhabited by anyone who finds and sees themselves in it.  This is where Meghan Borah’s femme-centric paintings connect back to and expand upon Laurencin’s female-oriented cosmos. While Borah’s “girls” tend to be feminine-presenting, their abstracted, angular limbs and features, heavy platform boots, and–let’s not forget–refusal to smile on command, especially while being looked at, resonate with feminism’s insistence that our bodies belong to ourselves and no one else, and we should revel and take pleasure in them, adorn them as we wish, and share them with others if and as we choose.

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