Title: Meg Cowell – The Sea, The Shore
Director/DOP: Peter M Lamont
Music: Peter M Lamont
Description: Interview with Australian Photo Artist Meg Cowell as she prepares for her exhibition The Sea, the Shore at Flinders Lane Gallery.
Meg is an eclectic mixed drink; a tall glass of beauty and sensuality, generous helpings of that thing you get after 9 years of Uni and buckets of creativity. Her highly unique tableau photography is extremely time-consuming and painstaking (all that time in bathers and gumboots, wrinkly fingers and squelchy toes must get on a girl’s nerves), yet that snapshot in time, or as Meg puts it “capturing a fluid moment”, is as alive as any reportage leaping-a-puddle image.
I like art that shows endeavour. I like quirky and imaginative. I like the evidence of skill. Megs images are desirable, acquirable and in short supply. Head to www.flg.com.au or www.megcowell.com for more info.
Cowell’s large-scale photographic works depict theatrical feminine costumes that have been arranged and illuminated whilst suspended in water. The garments are carefully selected and curated due to the sensory and emotional value that is evoked by colour and quality of the fabric. Also taken in to account is their association with a formality and deliberateness in how we once clothed ourselves that has now slipped from present day society – just like the absent wearer from her images.
Historically, fashion has played an important part within the cultural and psychological rituals of transformation from birth, through to marriage and death. One theorist suggests that we as humans ‘are defined by our clothing, in the way that the sea is defined by the shore.’ The institution of the white wedding dress is a potent example of the transformative properties of clothing; bodied as transformative phenomena and then disembodied to become relic. The Victorian era ‘mourning dress’ is another loaded example of the symbolic power of clothing. After the death of her husband, Queen Victoria spent more than forty years wearing black to symbolise her spiritual darkness, and an entire country of women followed suit, or rather, dress.
Meg Cowell graduated with Honours in Photography from the University of Tasmania in 2007, and has gone on to exhibit nationally and abroad. In 2013, she was a finalist in the 2013 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Award, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, QLD. She has been a finalist in the Cliftons Art Prize, SA, the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, Caloundra Gallery, QLD, and the Prospect Portrait Prize, SA. Meg also completed a mentorship in 2012 with acclaimed artist Deborah Paauwe with whom Cowell was paired through the mentorship program during her post-graduate work at the University of South Australia. This is Meg’s first solo exhibition at FLG.