Essay by Robin Dluzen: Magnolias Bloom in Spring

Commentary by Robin Dluzen

Artist & Critic

“Within the layers of Bobbi Meier’s abstractions lies the narrative of a life. Vivid bright spots of warmth and joy shine amidst nebulous clouds of memory, within which can also be found the visceral details of pain and grief. The nature of Meier’s layering is evidence of time passing, whether the layers are additive, burying something beneath them, or reductive, uncovering that which has been long buried. Intermingled within the layers of these small sculptures and works on paper are bits of lace, appliqué flowers and beaded fringe — materials domestic in nature, implying a sentimental, very personal context of home life.

While there are fragments of Meier’s own experiences in this work, a viewer will not find a literal telling of her story. Rather, the artist’s intentions are to illustrate the process by which we all navigate trauma and sorrow, repressing and recalling memories to and from the depths of our minds. In (Untitled)she was only five, Meier’s artist book mounted flat, we are presented with the suggestion of a narrative, something with a beginning and end progressing from left to right; however, it’s also obvious that this kind of linear reading is impossible, both in the book and throughout this exhibition’s collaged installation. Experiences are linear in their inherent chronology, of course, but on a daily basis, we’re picking through layers of experience, selecting certain things and passing over others, reminding ourselves of the beautiful things, and glimpsing the dark stuff before banishing it back into the haze.”

Robin Dluzen is a Chicago-based artist and art critic whose artwork has been featured in venues throughout the country. The former Editor-in-Chief of Chicago Art Magazine, Dluzen now writes regularly for Visual Art Source. Her writing has also appeared in Art Ltd., ArtNet, Art F City, Newcity, The Reader, the New American Paintings blog, Brut Force, The Outsider Magazine and Sports Illustrated. Dluzen received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.