FLORENCE, S.C. — Atlanta artist Megan Mosholder sees the world a bit differently following a fiery car crash that left her in a wheel chair — so her Florence art installation at University Place Gallery is titled “Vertically Challenged.”
The exhibition is largely composed of a site-specific installation designed to highlight the intricacies of the architectural and aesthetic space. The exhibition also includes medium-scale sculptures.
“The show was born out of my time stuck in bed, post leg amputation,” Mosholder said as she answered visitors’ questions on her exhibit’s opening night. “I started thinking about the way we interact with the world when we’re standing and moving around and ever since I have been in my accident and having to depend on a wheel chair, my vantage point has changed.”
In July 2020, Mosholder had her leg amputated following more than 30 surgeries she had since a single-vehicle crash in 2018 when she was trapped inside her burning car.
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“It used to be that all of this work was created mostly by myself or some volunteers and post accident, especially initially out of the hospital, I was unable to do much of anything, let alone build giant installations,” Mosholder said. “It’s a nod to that experience.”
Her Francis Marion University Place Gallery exhibit is a collection of straight lines that form curves that are, in turn, lighted to make them shine.
“The main theme is the obsessiveness with parabolas. I’m really interested in parabolic structural form,” Mosholder said. “It’s out of the pure joy of seeing straight lines and how they can create curves.”
Mosholder said she first fell in love with parabolas in 2013 during her time as an artist in residence and is enamored with them still.
“The piece behind us all, the light is actually mason twine, polyester cord that masons use to create a plumb line to make sure bricks are straight,” Mosholder said of a large installation piece on exhibit — a collection of twine, lights, lumber and cinder blocks.
Mason twine makes it easy to create sculpture without spending a lot of money, she said.
Along those same lines, necessity at another exhibit further solidified her style with twine.
“I was at a residency in Italy and ran out of the cord I needed and had to come up with a quick solution — and the solution was to paint the cord I had,” she said.
The cord on exhibit in Florence has both color of its own and color it reflects from lights that are part of the exhibit.
“One of the things I do as a site-specific artist is I build things on site. I’m currently working on an exhibition that will be shown during the Venice Biennale this year in Venice, Italy,” she said.
Though the idea will be hers, the execution won’t be.
“I always travel with a crew these days,” she said. “ ... I’m the ideas person, the person who secures the job, writes the proposal and tells people how to do it. A lot of my work has been staring at screens.”
A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design with an MFA in painting, Mosholder holds numerous awards from institutions such as the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. She is often commissioned by leading corporations such as Google, and is included in public art programs, museum exhibitions, and art fairs. Interest in her installations has led to international projects, evidenced by her inclusion in the European Cultural Centre’s 2022 Personal Structures exhibition presented during the Venice Biennale and a public art space in Sydney, Australia, in 2017.
She resides in Atlanta, is a professor at Kennesaw State University and has worked as a full-time professional artist for seven years.