I recently had the opportunity to visit Melissa Brown’s studio. I have known Melissa for a long time through my friend Joe Grillo. I saw her show Paper Fortune at Canada Gallery back in 2009 when everything was doom and gloom and her show reflected that attitude. The woodcuts she presented were critical of wealth and the symbols surrounding it.
Since then, Melissa has found herself painting landscapes, trying to envision a panoramic view in the gallery space – most recently with Palisades at Kansas Gallery and an upcoming show in Connecticut.
But what Melissa is most excited about now is a group of paintings that explore the technique of printmaking through painting. With this work, she is also looking at an object and shifting the plane to abstraction. Rocks are her figures that become abstraction and then figure again through the idea of pareidolia – the perception that there is some sort of pattern or meaning where there is none (i.e. seeing a face in the clouds).
She uses stencils to create the dominant figure in each series of paintings. Melissa blends colors beautifully and creates depth by juxtaposing sharp lines and soft textures, highlighting the paintings with vibrant streaks. It all adds up to a visual image that is interesting and smart and engaging.
I really enjoyed the way Melissa spoke about her work. She was very much aware of her creative arc. She has certain goals and the mindset and the talent to achieve them.
All in all, I was happy to spend an evening in her studio learning more about her work and I look forward to seeing it progress.