When you meet Meg Dearlove on this week’s tv show CBC Arts: Exhibitionists, the Toronto-based illustrator will give you a short glimpse inside her residence studio, displaying shelves that have been artfully loaded with aged comic books, pretty vintage kitsch, mason jars full of pom-poms…you get the concept.
Minimalism? Donald Judd can keep it. Dearlove’s a collector, and a couple of of her treasured things cameo in the series of GIFs appearing on this week’s episode, pastel-coloured illustrations of an alternate dimension where some form of mystery is happening.
“I like to use things that are kind of around my space and give them a new life,” she points out – but it’s up to you to visualize why they’re there.
So what are you viewing?
Reveals Dearlove: “You’ll see repeated imagery that refers to a secret society I’ve kind of created.”
“I guess it’s supposed to be similar to a secret cult,” she hints. (Any more depth and it would not be a mystery, right?)
And inside these everyday scenes, she’s planted proof of their existence.
If you look carefully, you’ll see repeating images and patterns in all of the GIFs: pyramids, matches, a smiling tiger.
Stick to the clues, and spin your own conspiracy theory.
Pick your own adventure
All those motifs?
“They kind of work together to tell a story,” she states.
But it’s a scenario with no fixed storyline.
The GIFs are meant to be looked at in a certain order, but the objects take on a “different life” from scene to scene, she reveals.
See that severed foot in the garden GIF? It appears again in the illustration with the cat clock.
“It’s a very small object on the shelf,” she claims.
“It was supposed to be like a souvenir from visiting that location, for example.”
The beginnings of the series
The GIFs came out of a collaborative task Dearlove labored on last year.
Involved with fellow artists Heidi Berton, Owen Marshall and Ben O’Neill, it was planned by 4Panel for a comic arts festival in London, Ont., called Tingfest. (As for 4Panel, it’s an online comics community where contributors make stories told in, you got it, four panels.)
So the secret of Dearlove’s “secret society” is in fact even more complex than what she’s discussed with us here.
For every “strip” in the project, each of the four artists would submit one illustration showcasing the same set of mystery symbols.
Check out the GIFs.
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