Megan Wilson
Sculpture, San Francisco, California, by Maria Porges, July/August, 1996


A thoroughly modern mood of simultaneous attraction and repulsion prevails in "Swell," with a kind of ghoulish, girlish glee, the works of Amy Berk, Carolyn Castaño and Megan Wilson exude an air of cheerfully perverted domesticity.  Amy Berk’s fabrications — amalgams of fake furs, sleazy satins and other strange modern weaves — are often framed with embroidery hoops.  Suggestive bumps and cracks hide beneath sheer synthetic gauze, as if to remind us of the contrast between imposed standards of feminine charm and the desperate acts involved in attempts to conform to them.  Equally alarming in their emphatic artificiality are Carolyn Castaño’s beautifully made, much-larger-than-life charcoal drawings of high-rise hairdos, which suggest nothing so much as working drawings of monumental Baroque sculptures.
Most captivating of all the works included, though, were Megan Wilson's six-foot towers of little glass jars.  Filled with an array of materials and lit from within, these glowing columns are giant reliquaries:  private museums as it were, of personal refuse.  One stack, appropriately titled Rapunzel (1996), preserves coiled strands and chopped bits of hair in some gelatinous goo.  In another titled Jezebel (1996), this medium — tinted various attractive pastel shades — is host to everything from cigarette butts