• Traces Opens at Hionas Gallery

    Date posted: November 9, 2011 Author: jolanta

     

    Pieces, scraps, traces, curious clues, strange evidence left behind…
    In the last few months I have been painting a series of investigative works on paper. The focus of these images being just that: investigating what remains, be it actual physical refuse or simply my own remembrances.

    “Although many of these works are devoid of human forms, often there is evidence of their passing.”

    Melanie Vote, Metamorphosis, 2011. Oil on linen, 58 by 70 in.  Courtesy of the artist.

     
    Traces Opens at Hionas Gallery

    Melanie Vote

     

    Pieces, scraps, traces, curious clues, strange evidence left behind…

    In the last few months I have been painting a series of investigative works on paper. The focus of these images being just that: investigating what remains, be it actual physical refuse or simply my own remembrances.

    In 2007, I began to replicate my childhood toys in plaster, their white forms seeming akin to archaic sculptures. The casting or replication process created a certain level of remove, rendering the forms universal rather than individual icons. At the same time, I felt a greater intimacy between the subjects and myself. I then used these objects in maquettes for paintings, inserting them into landscapes both real and imagined.

    The process of creating the interaction between the sculptures and landscapes has elicited unimagined elements and surprises. Sometimes the sculptural element is envisioned first and then I must find its location, and other times the opposite occurs, with the landscape initiating the object.

    The images I have created also take inspiration from my fascination with monolithic icons of antiquity, such as the enormous heads erected by the Olmec. (Their culture now extinct, these giant heads were left behind in the landscape, almost like boulders remaining centuries after a glacier has passed, seem odd and out of place, even magical: the objects of mythic rites or even other worlds.)  These icons make me question the place of the icon in contemporary culture and wonder, what will be the relic of our lives once we too have disappeared?

    In the works where I am incorporating the cast or sculpted elements into paintings of contemporary American landscapes, they too seem like ruins or monoliths, and become archeological evidence of a society with questionable substance to leave behind. 

    Although many of these works are devoid of human forms, often there is evidence of their passing: seemingly inhabited ruins depict post-apocalyptic scenes where the individual in residence is patching together a life, patching together the traces of the past, making the most of what is left and finding solace and perhaps, even joy within the aftermath.

    Melanie Vote: Traces is on view at Hionas Gallery 89 Franklin St. NY, NY 10013 from November 4 -25, 2011.

    *** This article was published by NY Arts Magazine, 2011. NY Arts Magazine is published by Abraham Lubelski.  Sponsored by Broadway Gallery, NYC and World Art Media.

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