• Artist Profile: Margi Weir

    written by Kayla Goggin

    Four decades as a visual artist and professor have made Margi Weir fluent in the intricacies of visual language. She writes in high-contrast pictograph, mixing contemporary and ancient symbology to create patterned and highly ordered works.  Her carefully chosen symbols are repeated and confined to their respective registers, communing with each other in their juxtaposition to create something more than a narrative: an exposition.

    Weir’s work often draws comparisons to hieroglyphs and early Aegean ceramics with her devotion to highly structured and symbolic patterning. It’s unlikely that these allusions are accidental: Weir holds two Masters degrees in Painting (MFA in Painting from the University of California at Los Angeles and an MA in Painting from New Mexico State University),and a BA in Art History from Wheaton College. She currently teaches at Wayne State University as an assistant professor of Painting and Drawing. One might call her an academic artist if the term weren’t so heavy with exclusionary politics. However, we can definitely say that Weir is a student of art history.

    Screaming Wheel

    With her background in mind, a fresh look at works like Tapestry of Flight or Screaming Wheel reveals new depth. If we understand Weir’s structural choices as homages to art traditions based in pictographs we can infer a deeper symbolism. The Screaming Wheel, with its radial symmetry and geometric patterning, seems to have a foothold in Pre-Colombian art. An understanding of basic history floods the image with a sense of foreboding — it feels as if we are meant to see The Screaming Wheel as a warning. A screaming child, a ring of the “Three Wise Monkeys”, a bell repeatedly tolling, and armed men and bombs surrounding it all. Weir pulls imagery from multiple cultures and sources to complete the piece, unifying all of her elements under a frame a reference and a specific tone. Creating an experience of horror and an atmosphere of destruction supersedes the traditional narrative objective. In a way, Weir’s use of fractal, rhythmic images to introduce viewers to her socio-political commentary is evocative of ancient propaganda.

     Tapestry of Flight

    Tapestry of Flight brings those ideas into the modern age (and back out again). Using registers and geometric bands and lines like those from the early Geometric period of Aegean ceramics, Weir focuses again on acts of human destruction, this time contrasted with man’s relationship with nature. Nature pre-dates man, man mimics nature, man makes technological advances, man destroys nature. Again, the work is less about the linear narrative and more about a cycle of violence; Weir uses her structured picture plane to deconstruct and explore - in this case by juxtaposing the audacious flight of men with the natural flight of insects and animals. On a purely aesthetic level, Tapestry of Flight demonstrates Weir’s strength in balancing intimation with the boldness of her pictorial elements — her registers of bullets make wonderfully subtle reference to Grecian columns. 

    Currently, Weir is exploring her work through the digital medium. This choice has enabled her to create and blend patterns of increasing intricacies and opened up her palette to include a new spectrum of vibrant, high-contract color. Always unafraid of the bold and uniquely in-tune with the juxtaposing power of subtlety, Margi Weir has created an addendum to modern visual language that, we hope, will continue to expand for years to come.

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