Description

Go Down In depicts an interior at once domestic and psychological. Painted in fine lines on a monochrome grey background, the motifs and structural elements are repetitive and the colour palette restrained. An economy of means heightens the mystery of the place. The inviting yet disturbing perspective leads to a stairway whose destination is unclear. Just as the eye focuses on the small white dots inhabiting the tapestries, the image shifts and a multitude of gazes appear, all staring back at the viewer. Fanciful figures emerge startlingly in the architecture. Faces invade the wallpaper, the banister, the floor. The house seems to be haunted, and the concave floor is like a strange vortex. Sandra Meigs made this large-format painting after visiting the Sanford-Covell Villa Marina, a 19th-century mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, with a 35-foot-high entry hall decorated in Pompeian style. She was struck by the way the lavish central staircase served as a transitional space between the outside world and the privacy of the home. M.-E. B.