About the Artist
Megan Ping is a painter who lives in Terrell, TX. She received her MFA-IF from Sierra Nevada University in 2020 and her BFA from Southern Methodist University in 2009. Through painting she explores ideas of desire, fantasy, and gender. She has recently re-discovered professional wrestling, which is providing a plethora of imagery to build fantasies. One of her most recent exhibits was at the Professional Wrestling Museum and Hall of Fame in Wichita Falls, TX. Megan has had residencies at Molzberger Acadamey of Fine Arts in Hilmsen, Germany and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Bangor, ME. In 2015 Megan was nominated by Mary Tomas Gallery, where she was previously represented, for Rising Star. Since 2007, her work has been included in a variety of group exhibitions. Professional activities include being a project assistant to Joshua Goode at BUDA museum in Kortrijk, Belgium and a comic collaboration with Judah Friedlander in New York, New York.
Fantasies of men populate my work. Inspired by sexualized poses and flirtatious facial expressions found wrestling and social media, I inject the figure into imaginary spaces built from interior design color palettes, tacky prints, and nature. I’m exploring fantasy through creating dream bubbles, cutouts of submission holds, and cutouts of wrestler butts. I hope the images indulge the pleasure of voyeurism while exploring the often ambiguous of elusive impact of posed figure painting.
In a way, this project is about escape: fantasies can be safer and happier than real life experiences. The spectacle of wrestling is invigorating, ridiculous, and sexy. The dream bubbles incorporate images from social media and professional wrestlers. I’m interested in taking these figures out of their context and placing them into a vacation-like fantasy environment. For these wrestlers I looked for a moment that seemed a little tough, yet tender. While selecting images to use, I felt compelled to find images in pairs that were similar. The correlation between wrestling matches and Tinder matches, and the use of circles felt compelling. I matched these by using similar backgrounds and similar shirts. Looking at these wrestlers creates a strange power dynamic. Power roles come into play in the matches and in this work. Using the female gaze, I am claiming power through my desire of these men by how I paint and display them. Cutting these figures out further objectifies them by taking them out of context and making them a more physical object. These cutouts are reminiscent of paper doll cutouts. The relationship of these men as a paper doll-like object insinuates play and play objects which have sexual undertones. I take care and consideration as I am choosing which submission pose to cutout. I typically start by selecting a particular wrestler- not always with the decision of if this wrestler will dominate or submissive. A facial expression that totes the line of pain and pleasure is must. The spectacle of tangled and contorted bodies tantalizing. The butt cutouts came from looking at Alex Katz, using a paper doll system in my art making, and having this laser focus on the butts of wrestlers. I often find myself distracted by butts and feel compelled to look at them. There is a desire to touch the butts. I feel that the flat surface accentuates the desire to touch. By painting these, an illusion is created and I feel that the desire to touch and permission to touch leaves more to be desired.
Recently, I have been thinking about Manet’s Olympia, Holbein’s The Body of Dead Christ, Lucien Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, Alex Katz, Elizebeth Peyton, Lisa Yuskavage, a variety of Renaissance and Baroque portraiture, pin-up poses, fashion poses, and stills from wrestling matches. While not all of these examples implicate the viewer in a lustful way, they all pull at you, their purpose is to invite you to indulge in looking. I find myself wanting to look at people, but not wanting to be rude and stare. I want to provide the viewer the same opportunity to enjoy looking. For many of us, our lives can be very mundane. We don’t always allow ourselves to fantasize or think about impractical things. I hope my images help give others permission to look and to fantasize about their desires.