Artist Profile

Melanie Johnson

Studio Resident (2014 - 2016)

Statement of Work

I use drawing as a vehicle to construct stories and as a forum to exercise the physical process of combining the observed with the imagined. In a very basic sense, it is a record of the act of looking, of touching, and of constructing meaning through relating one mark or image to another over a period-- a physical testament to the passage of time and a series of visual decisions.

I navigate this territory intuitively when working, seeking to arrive at an image that is both unflinchingly candid in physical representation and yet psychologically evasive. Narrative is employed loosely here. The imagery gives form to a dissonant accrual of lived experience, family histories, anecdote, internal conflicts and dilemmas, daydreams, gleanings, personal and appropriated iconography, the acting out of roles both obligatory and imagined, and fragments of carefully observed and also carelessly abandoned domestic detritus. Rather than explicit tales, the drawings seek to conjure a habitat that has one foot in reality and the other in a hazy internal state that evokes the slipperiness of memory, longing, and a disquieting curiosity—about an object, a body, an unexpected relationship, or a state of being. Time and meaning unfurl in the lack of activity and there is an inhabited comfort and resignation to the state of things.

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Creating self-portraits from perception is an act of investigation that allows for careful and deliberate scrutiny of one’s own presence.

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