I saw Melissa‘s exhibition listing on Kit and Caboodle, a fabulous community site for jewellers. I liked the red piece shown on that site, and the slideshow on her own site, so made sure I popped along to her opening on Wednesday night.
This exhibition forms part of Melissa’s MFA (Master of Fine Art) examinations and is at the university she is attending. The space is quite large and seems more intended for large-scale two-dimensional visual art, but I think it’s better for any work to have room to breathe than to be crowded in a small space.
Below is an image of my favourite piece. All photographs were taken with permission of the artist. I took these without flash so I could capture the shadows (I have a ‘thing’ for objects and their shadows), but for more professional images see Melissa’s own site.
The elements are cut from the one piece of metal and then held in their three-dimensional relationship by tension in the steel or surgical wire. They are quite sturdy though they look so delicate.
Melissa cuts each piece by hand, for many are made from reclaimed material that makes laser cutting unsuitable. There are pieces made from porcelain, plastic, and bamboo serving platters.
I like that the one above looks a bit like a parachute.
Those familiar with the work of Jason Wade (RMIT alumni) may see similarities here in the use of recycled metal, especially the compact and red tin accompanying pieces made from the void of the cut object. This last part initially reminded me of his work too, but I think there are many more differences than similarities – including much of Jason’s work being a larger scale and retaining the often iconographic patterning of the original object. Further and more importantly though, I understand the intent of their work to be quite different: Jason’s being to subvert the original object and Melissa’s to create a form that also leaves behind evidence of where it once was (at least that’s my interpretation). Finally, I would doubt they know of each others work. I could not find many public images of Jason’s work but for these here (image 7) and here.
There is something in Melissa’s work that I really respond to – the attention to detail, the commitment to hand-work (I have a particular love for saw-piercing myself), the symmetry, the delicacy and lightness … there is much to like.
The scale is intimate and the objects covetable – I wanted to hold one gently in my cupped hand and take it home with me!
The three photographs here are from the ‘planar radial’ series; an equally significant series in this exhibition is the ‘axial’ grouping, more of which can be seen on Melissa’s site.
Good luck Melissa, I hope the examination goes well!
‘Iteration‘ is at Monash University, Building D Room 1.12, open only weekdays from 11am – 2pm, until 7th April 2009.