current work

Three things want a frame to give them structure: a painting, a story, and a window. All take different kinds of framing, of course, but the concept is similar: physical or abstract, a frame implies a viewpoint. It is where you start from.

Where you end up, on the other hand, is another matter entirely, because frames—for paintings, for stories, or for windows—are not so simple. They are points of entry that at the same time throw up barriers and define boundaries: the viewer is on one side or the other. A frame simultaneously organizes, invites, points the way, and separates.

Windows, in particular, invite a multiplicity of meanings. Add a reflective surface, so light can work its magic, and you bring a sort of graceful confusion: what is on one side can coexist with what is on the other, the space behind and before the viewer overlaid. Where you have been shows itself side by side with where you are, or where you may yet be going.

Inside Outside Windowphilia are life-sized ink and watercolor paintings of windows on paper. The pieces play with reflection and layers of external and internal space, exploring the precarious and terrifying idea of being on one side or the other of incarceration.

Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Quarantine Acropolis (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn), 2021, Watercolor on paper, 78x55"
Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Quarantine Fire Escapes (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn), 2021, Watercolor on paper, 78x55"
Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Unnameable Books (Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn), 2020, Watercolor on paper, 55x41"
Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Leaded Glass (Yorkville, Manhattan), 2020, Watercolor on paper, 78x55"
Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Freebird Books (Red Hook, Brooklyn), 2019, Watercolor on paper, 75x55"
Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Filaments (Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn), 2019, Watercolor on paper, 75x55"
Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside English 1960's (Red Hook, Brooklyn), 2019, Watercolor on paper, 75x55"

Started while on my first residency at the American Academy in Rome Magical Things is an ongoing series of watercolors that venerate the easily overlooked objects of everyday life. Mundane objects become totems, milagros—charms of mindfulness, imbued with a power greater than the sum of their parts. This series has taken some twists and turns. For example, in 2018 after my mother died, I began a trajectory of this work which brought me solace and comfort: Magical Things from My Mother’s House. When NYC was given stay-at-home orders in March 2020, I embarked on Magical Things from Quarantine which helped me to process the strangeness of the time. These small paintings have and will continue to serve as a ballast of sorts, a touchstone for day-to-day experience.

Meridith McNeal, Magical Things From Quarantine Bandana Mask, 2020, Watercolor on paper, 12x12"
Meridith McNeal, Magical Things From Quarantine A Life of Beauford Delaney on Kindle , 2020, Watercolor on paper, 12x12"
Meridith McNeal, Magical Things From Quarantine Hoop in the Studio, 2020, Watercolor on paper, 12x12"
Meridith McNeal, Studio View, 2021