ART BY MEGAN COONELLY
I am interested in all sorts of habits, and these play out in my work. They show up as painted imagery. These images overlap and intertwine, in obvious and less obvious ways, utilizing the techniques of thick paint or thin paint. In my work I look to a variety of habits, routines and rituals as to inform the performance of painting. My painting reflects upon habits I have whether they be religious, athletic or edible. The habit becomes a singular thought to hold onto during the making of a painting.
I use imagery to focus my attention on the act of painting as a method of daily reflection. The images used are ones I am very critical of. I reflect upon the implications the images suggest in the painting. I find myself critical of these images as I also find myself having a secret need of wanting these spoils. These images are rooted in advertisement and I mock and analyze these images as I paint. The paintings allow me to exert control over my thoughts and participation in these images in a reverent and irreverent way.
- Megan Coonelly
ABOUT MEGAN COONELLY
Coonelly has had a deep interest in pop culture from childhood. The “here and now” of culture, colors, and traditions are all present in her work, creating her signature style. She remembers rummaging through her mother’s jewelry box filled with gold tubed lipsticks, trying on her shoes, and wearing her rosaries. Raised Roman Catholic, attending Sunday mass with her family, she also attended novena masses with her mother and grandmother; no matter the occasion they always were wearing their Sunday best. She was often given hand-me-downs, and had desires of makeup and nice shoes. These experiences would influence her work in a large way. These routines of faith and life would provide perfect inspiration for her obsessive personality and Megan would find her true passion in painting.
Beginning to paint in multiples within a series was a signature process shift. Coonelly painted dozens to hundred of original works at the same time. The fluidity of accelerated painting led to bold saturated colors, while maintaining an integrity of character for every single piece.
One of anything is never enough. Women don’t have a single lipstick or apply lipstick once. Women don’t wear their high heels once. No one can eat just one macaron. Her fascination with these subjects would draw comparisons to 70’s pop icons Warhol and Theibaud. She then explored the lipstick paintings of Theibaud, re-creating and manipulating the colors of the lipsticks and tubes in numerous paintings at varied scales. These mini paintings series caught the attention of pop culture artist and mogul Ashley Longshore.
In 2016, when her grandmother passed away, she began her #HailMary project. Coonelly wanted to celebrate the dedicated Catholic her grandmother was and she began creating Pop portraits of the Blessed Mary adorned in gold leaf. The masked and revealed gold leaf sections revere the mystery of the holy word. These paintings are a meditation and prayer in practice and creation. They are created to show faith does not have to be a solemn act, it should be joyous and bright and hopeful.
During her second year at Illinois State University, Coonelly shifted from oils to acrylic paints due to her pregnancy. This shift in medium accelerated her creation tenfold and began her process of 'marathons'. This was made up of painting 20 or more (4 inch by 6 inch) paintings in a single session. During this groundbreakingly productive time, she would create her largest painting “Something You Can Do With Your Mouth” measuring 6 by 24 feet.
Even before graduating, she would garner high profile collectors like celebrity power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds and pop culture artist mogul Ashley Longshore. She produced and sold over two hundred paintings, and went on to be featured in Architectural Digest and Women’s Wear Daily.
Masters of Fine Arts from Illinois State University, 2017 at (on full scholarship.)
Bachelor of Fine Arts of Studio Art from Arcadia University, 2006.
Coonelly currently resides and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her two children.