Margaret Meehan

Region: West


City / State: Richmond, VA

In childhood, there is a clear tension between our animal nature and the civilized codes of adulthood. In the case of medical anomalies or freaks (conjoined twins and feral children), what is "normal" is less clear. Does the "perfect" child or the biological reality of the anomaly define the natural?

The "Anomalies Series" are drawings on turn of the century cabinet cards. Combining reality with imagination, they are portraits of children who would never have had their pictures taken at that time for anything other than spectacle.

These girls, while confronted with difference and exclusion, also suggest hope and humor - empowered by their oddity. Questioning the idea of the child as weak and domesticated, and challenging our preconceptions of cute and grotesque. Do some individuals exist outside the boundaries of our protection? How do we determine who falls within?

It would be a mistake to see these children as fantastical aberrations or merely characters from the past. The reality of their malformations serves as a mirror and a metaphor for all forms of otherness.