Visiting Trailer Box Project artist Megan Marden's sunny and colorful studio in the heart of downtown Danbury is like stepping into one of her gorgeous still-life paintings. Her toy dinosaurs watch quietly from a shelf, peeking between bottles of gesso. A human skull replica rests upon her desk beside a deftly selected color palette. Her slick, fire-engine red piano sits beneath quirky wall hangings from the nearby Asian market. But the most familiar thing in her studio is the light.
"I'm so conflicted as to whether I should work on it more or not," says Marden in reference to a painting in process. "I'm afraid of losing the light!" Marden spends a lot of her process investigating and understanding the surrounding space, often taking months to complete a painting. They are re-drawn, re-organized, and see numerous changes in color and light. “I think of paint as a sculpture source,” she said, explaining that light and spaces are very important to her work.
One of Marden's most well known series is a collection of beautifully textured and abstracted paintings of toy dinosaurs. “I was fascinated by [the dinosaurs] color and texture and started painting them,” said the up-and-coming Connecticut artist. Her most recent work, which will be on view at Trailer Box Project this April, focuses on small spaces. The work is observational and ranges from small to medium in size. However, even as her work continues to evolve, dinosaurs are still evident on her canvases.
Marden often paints on Masonite prepared with 4-6 layers of gesso, and a toned ground. She prepares her canvases the same way, making her starting surface very smooth and hard, so that each paint stroke sits on top of it. Marden uses thick and thin paint, and a variety of oil and alkyd mediums to create diversity in texture and luminosity.
Marden, an award-winning painter, earned her M.F.A. at Western Connecticut State University 2012. Over the past four years she has exhibited her work in Connecticut and New York, including exhibitions at the UConn Stamford Art Gallery, The Arts Council of New Haven, Trinity College, and Blue Mountain Gallery in New York City. She is the recipient of painting awards from The Washington Art Association and Western Connecticut State University. In 2014 she was named a “Top Up and Coming Visual Artist” by CBS Connecticut.
Megan Marden’s paintings of interior spaces merge sensitive observation and an earnest nod to painting’s history with a quirky, personal sensibility. “I want each painting to be an accurate reflection of my own experiences while creating it – I try to create paintings that are honest, vulnerable, and contain a character beyond the visual,” she says of her work.
Works by Megan Marden will be on view at Trailer Box Project starting April 9th and will run through May 7th. It's an exhibition not to be missed!