As an artist, I am compelled to make work that explores issues of self-identity, born from my experiences dealing with facial and dental deformity and the ensuing correction process that has lasted ten years of my life–and is still ongoing. Currently, my mouth, chin, jaw and gums have twenty-five plates and screws that will keep everything intact for the rest of my life. The changes in the skull affect the material condition of the skin and reveal its plasticity. This allows me to think of the skin as a mutable surface, because of its ability to adjust and become manipulated. My skull has lived the life of two different people: one that once repulsed others and another that is now more desirable. I am compelled to make mixed media portrait installations, drawings, photographs and 3D printed portraiture that deal with the multiple mappings of identity and topographic contour lines that study the physical structure of the face.
Within her professional practice, Megan has examined her corrective facial and dental surgeries through self portraiture. Her residency at Ted Harrison has allowed her to explore various types of portraiture by collaborating with teachers and students. During Luminous Bodies, Megan will invite strangers and residency participants to enact her own narrative of the face through transformation. These multi dimensional portraits will eventually become physicalized in a variety of media at a later date. The intention with this new body of work is to move beyond her own face and mouth, expanding the concept of portraiture within her own practice.
Megan Conley was born and raised in Calgary, Canada where she completed her Bachelor of Fine Art at the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2013 and her Master of Fine Art in Visual Studies, Emerging Practices in 2015 at the University at Buffalo, New York. Megan is currently an Artist in Residence at Ted Harrison Middle School and is also an instructor for North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre in Calgary.