Biography

Melissa is a professional artist based in Ireland. Her work is held in both private and public collections, including a recent acquisition by OPW. She was a selected painter on the Turps Contemporary Painting Mentorship Program London 2018-2021 and recently had a solo show in January 2022 at the Ashford Gallery, RHA Dublin. Her work was shortlisted for John Moore’s painting Prize 2020 and featured online CIAC.LA (Contemporary Irish Arts Center Los Angeles) 2020. Previously she was awarded a summer residency in 2019, at Notre Dame Global University, Galway and during Covid was a panel speaker @ Mermaid Arts Centre, IRL, and has given public talks at the RHA. At present, she is represented by Solomon Fine Art Gallery, Dublin, and is also preparing new work for the upcoming Sotheby’s London Auction of Contemporary Irish Art 2022.

Artist Statement

Creating artwork is intrinsic to my beliefs and hopes for a more positive world and the act of making an image and a physical object with permanence like a painting, from seemingly nothing more than canvas, pools of paint, and imagination still feels surprising to me just like a magic trick and it is this unexpectedness that motivates me to make artworks.

I employ different work processes ranging from open-ended paint and drawing mark making, where by rubbing, brushing, glazing and layering, the chance marks are shaped into symbolically charged forms and narratives reveal themselves like apparitions.

My work is influenced by my research into the past works of Surrealism where devices such as Automatism and tapping into the subconscious were employed. In addition, how they exploited the redundant and dusty nature of old bourgeois paintings and re-invented them.

Themes in my work include looking at alternative views of nature that adapt a mysterious or uncanny feeling, and looking at unnoticed grounds and figures. Recent works play on the figure-ground relationships where the depiction plays on the conscious – the what you see and the unconscious – what the viewer conjures up. I also employ mono-print methods that not only create a feeling of high-impact visual contrast but also read as a symbolic commentary meant to question the notion of high art and the place of painting within it in today’s contemporary art landscape.

Artworks are also triggered by my own personal life experiences and what it is to be a female artist in the 21c. I also try to make works that reflect the effects on the human psyche of today’s hyper-modern world with the seemingly overwhelming endless plentitude of consumerism and the technocratic element of today’s society.

My aim is to give notice and meaning through the unexpectedness of imagery to the viewer and in some way a reflection and pause for thought on our own values and how we exist today.

CV
Education

2018-2021  Turps Contemporary Painting School, London
1993  IADT Dublin, Visual Communications

Solo Exhibitions (Selected)

2022  RHA Ashford Gallery, Dublin – Turning It Over
2021 
RHA Ashford Gallery, DublinNature Nostalgia
2016 
Mermaid Arts Centre, Wicklow Spaces Of The Imagination
2015 
Signal Arts Centre, WicklowDrawings

Group Exhibitions (Selected)

2021  Cohort Turps Virtual exhibition ‘The Quick Brown Fox’
2020  Cohort Turps Virtual exhibition ‘In Absentia’
2020  CIAC.LA Irish Contemporary Arts Centre Los Angeles ‘100 Artists Virtual Showcase’
2020  DrawingDeCentred, The Courthouse, Ennistymon, Co.Clare
2019 189th RHA Annual , Dublin. 2019 DrawingDeCentred, The Model, Co.Sligo.
2018/17  Incognito Solomon Gallery, Dublin. 2017 Pallas Periodical #7, Dublin.
2016  186th RHA Annual , Dublin.

Residencies

2017-21  Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Co.Monaghan, Ireland.
2017  Royal College of Surgeons, Anatomy room, Dublin.
2015-21  Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, Co.Kerry.

Awards

2019  Residency Award/RHA/Notre Dame University @ Global Centre, Kylemore Abbey, Ireland.

Collections

Office of Public Works, Ireland.
Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland.
Notre Dame Global University, Irl/USA.
Private Collections in Ireland, Europe & USA

Writings / Reviews

2018  Contributing writer DrawingDeCentered article for VAI.
2017  Contributing writer at Visual Artists Ireland Periodical.

Public Talks

2019  Mermaid Arts Centre guest artist panel talk ‘Enough is Never Enough’ a public live-streaming event.
2019  RHA Dublin/artist public talk/tour @ summer annual.
2019  Turps Review, London

Memberships

Founding member of artist-led collaboration Drawing deCentered
Professional Member of Visual Artist Ireland
Turps Painters, London, UK

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