Megan Rye, Children's Home Society
Megan Rye is a visual artist and teacher. She was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1975. Through paintings, drawings, photography, and artists books, Rye uses visual storytelling to explore themes of migration, citizenship, remembrance, war, and democracy.
Rye graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Painting in 1994. She received her MFA in Painting from the University of Minnesota in 2003. In 2005 she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Rye's first significant body of work, I Will Follow You Into the Dark, was a series of paintings based on photographs Rye's brother took while serving in Iraq. This project debuted at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (2007), and was Rye's first solo exhibit in New York City at Forum Gallery (2011).
The aftermath of the Iraq War continues to reverberate, and the paintings have been studied and exhibited widely. Recently, Alien, one of the signature large scale paintings, was included in The American Dream, at the Kunsthalle Emdem, in Germany. This ambitious survey of American painters is the first large scale introduction of American painters to Germany and the Netherlands.
Rye's current project is Foundling: 100 Days. It includes portraits of herself and fellow internationally adopted children. These portraits are inspired by adoption file photographs. Foundling, debuted at the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas (2019). The Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota, exhibited and acquired the project in 2022. The Bazinet Foundation, Gary and JoAnn Fink, and Dennis and Sungsook Kim, all families with Korean adopted children, made this acquisition possible.
Foundling responds to the moment we are living in. It is an unwavering statement in support of America as a nation of immigrants. Foundling bears witness to our countries’ great immigration history, is a testament to the potential of democracy, and questions our uneven system of granting citizenship. It asks who we are we as Americans, and who we could become. This project has taken Rye around the world, transcribing stories from China, Korea, Russia, Guatemala, Colombia, Paraguay, India, Romania, and Ethiopia.
Rye's work has been sustained by significant foundational support. A Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship (2010), McKnight Foundation Fellowship (2008), and Jerome Foundation Fellowship (2005), have been essential to her artistic development. Rye is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Minnesota State Arts Board Grants (2022, 2019, 2007, and 2004) have additionally provided critical and consistent support.
Rye is represented by Forum Gallery, New York City. She lives in Minneapolis.