Two Girls Resting with Leaves
This painting illustrates an open narrative, depicting a group of feminine figures whose relationship is not necessarily defined by their relationship in the composition. The artist uses oil paint along with the quick-drying medium of distemper to create surfaces that evoke the faded qualities of worn denim—along with the patterns of vintage fabrics and other decorative textiles. Borah’s female-presenting figures are dressed in floral dresses and platform boots, and they inhabit dreamlike landscapes filled with horses, flowers and greenery. The artist explores concepts of self, authenticity and performance in paintings that frequently depict aloof characters with expressionless faces.
Borah draws influence from the artist, poet and muse Marie Laurencin (1883-1956). Laurencin was among the only female artists associated with the Section D’Or and Cubist group, and she was the independent-minded muse of Guillaume Apollinaire for a time. Laurencin’s paintings—with their centering of female figures engaged in activities of leisure, beautification and nature forays—were often dismissed in their time for representing “everything that is wrong with women’s art.” Laurencin's work featured a pastel palette, an unapologetically decorative aesthetic and celebrated simple, pretty things like flower bouquets, flowing scarves, woodland idylls and the freedom of riding on horseback.
However, from a contemporary standpoint—including today’s fresh perspectives on gender fluidity and the wide spectrum of gender expressions—Laurencin’s painted worlds portray a feminine interiority that can be claimed and inhabited by those who find and see 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 angular limbs and features, heavy platform boots and refusal to smile on command—especially while being looked at—resonate with feminism’s insistence that women's bodies belong to themselves and no one else. Borah's work insists that women should revel and take pleasure in themselves, adorn themselves as they wish, and share themselves with others if and as they choose.
Speaking of this painting and other works depicting groups of feminine figures, the artist says: "I’m attracted to scenes of female pairs and groups because positioning multiple bodies next to one another allows for a more open read. I want to offer opportunities for the viewer to complete the scenario. As a figurative painter, it’s important for me to not be too didactic in the paintings by creating images where women can be read as lovers, friends or as models in a fashion shoot. Human relationships are complicated and there’s pressure in society to “DTR” (define the relationship). Sometimes we can’t exactly pinpoint words to describe our feelings toward a certain person. I like to think that my paintings, in a very, very small way, challenge pressures to love a certain way."
Meghan Borah’s work explores the self, authenticity and performance in paintings that depict female-presenting figures inhabiting dreamlike landscapes filled with horses, flowers and greenery. The artist uses oil paint along with the quick-drying medium of distemper to create surfaces that evoke the faded qualities of worn denim, vintage fabrics and other decorative textiles. Wearing a combination of floral dresses and platform boots, Borah’s expressionless subjects remain aloof—refusing to smile on command, while insisting that their bodies belong to themselves and no one else.
Meghan Borah was born in 1990. The artist received an MFA from the Painting and Drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois in 2017, and a dual BA in Studio Art and Theology from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts in 2012.
Solo exhibitions of Borah’s work have taken place at: Goldfinch in Chicago, Illinois (2021, 2019); Galerie Urbane in Dallas, Texas (2021); and Lillstreet Rooftop Gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2017).
Group exhibitions that have shown Borah’s work include: Intersection: Art Meets Fashion at The Avenue at American Dream in East Rutherford, New York (2021); Summer Collective at Galleri Urbane in Dallas, Texas (2020); Sleeper Cell at Apparatus Projects in Chicago, Illinois (2020); The Gift Edit at Galleri Urbane in Dallas, Texas (2020); Culture Place at the Dallas Art Fair in Dallas, Texas (2020); Templates for Public Art Vol. 2 at Free Range Gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2019); Collide at Young Chicago Authors Gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2019); B-Sides at East Room in Chicago, Illinois (2018); Anniversary Show at Over The Rainbow Gallery in Evanston, Illinois (2018); Vignettes at The Saw Room in Evanston, Illinois (2017); Netflix and Chill at D&S Gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2017); and in SAIC’s MFA Thesis Presentation at Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois (2017).
Borah lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.
This painting illustrates an open narrative, depicting a group of feminine figures whose relationship is not necessarily defined by their relationship in the composition. The artist explores concepts of self, authenticity and performance in paintings that frequently depict aloof characters with expressionless faces.More
- Framed: 20.5 x 22.2 in.