Libery Clouded

Liberty Clouded in Without/Color

Figureworks Gallery, 168 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

January 9 – February 22, 2015

Meridith McNeal, Liberty Clouded (Fog from Red Hook), 2014, watercolor on paper

I have exhibited my work at Figureworks for over a decade. When Gallery Director Randall Harris invited me to create work for a three-person show about the absence of color I enthusiastically accepted the challenge.

I began by thinking about how and when it is that we as human beings experience an absence of color -- fog, driving rain, snow, depression, sorrow and anxiety all came to mind. Before I had even picked up a brush I knew title of the series I would create for this exhibition would be Liberty Clouded.

These paintings are about the anguish of false accusation and the gross failure of the American judicial system. Liberty Clouded is dedicated to all those suffering, as trial lawyer Norm Pattis succinctly puts it, “the gravest injustice of all: the imprisonment of an innocent person.”

Meridith McNeal, Liberty Clouded (from Red Hook), 2014, watercolor on paper
Without/Color Figureworks Gallery installation view

Last night I attended the opening of the incredibly lovely exhibition, Without/Color. At Figureworks in Williamsburg, this show currently features three artists (there will be a second iteration of the show with an additional three artists). The first room features evocative pencil drawings of female figures by Joanne Scott. The second room features haunting watercolors by Meridith McNeal. Both rooms are guarded over by intricate and powerful terra-cotta ravens by Alexander Ney.

There is a heavy softness to this show, which emphasizes delicacy and absence. The beauty of whites and greys... The sadness of a colorless world. Both work together to create something that is more than beautiful, richer than sad. This effect is particularly enhanced by McNeal's watercolors, bleak and clouded images of The Statue of Liberty. The viewer must strain towards the hope implied by this icon, as optimism has been washed away.

Diana Rickard, Notes on what I read and watched (and saw), January 10, 2015