Melissa Meier Art
In the “GLASS-EYED” series, artist Melissa Meier explores the power and effect of handmade, static masks in both abstract and commonplace settings. This new work is a deviation from her earlier mask pieces that she created in 1991 during her six month stay in Japan where she became inspired by Japanese Noh masks. Meier found it refreshing to come back to masks as a subject after almost a 30 year hiatus.
“Sometimes themes require significant time to gestate and that’s what I find so intriguing about creation – just when you think you’ve explored all sides, a new personal discovery is made. Masks are a form of disguise, ritual, entertainment, and even protection, and I wanted to expand my exploration by sculpting oversized masks out of clay and bringing them to life using glass eyes, paint, and human hands, all in a variety of settings,” says Meier.
Ironically, in Meier’s staged scenes, her masks are used as a form of expressed emotion rather than concealed disguise. Further, depending on how the variables work together, she is often surprised how each mask takes on its own personality, its own story. Although the masks are not sculpted realistically, they appear to breath and live, whether a person is posing behind them or not.
Melissa Meier’s work confronts social and spiritual issues by incorporating mixed media sculpture into narrative assemblage. She is constantly working with new processes and structure. In her “Laced” series, she photographed mug shot style female portraits in natural light. With wood putty and graphite, the photographic surfaces are re-rendered and then dramatically altered with incised lace patterns. With a feeling similar to the Maori warrior facial tattoos, at once sexy and intimidating, the portraits are created out of a symbol of elegance, femininity and ironically Victorian repression. Meier’s latest work entitled “Skins” furthers female portraiture, this time using natural elements such as leaves, feathers, stones, egg shells, pinecones, sticks, sponges, sea shells, scales and fur. Tribal ritual or the future of fashion, the “Skins” series asks the question: is there a difference?
Currently living in Southern California, Meier spent most of her childhood in Brazil. She received a B.A. from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She most recently exhibited her work in a group exhibition at The Oceanside Museum of Art in Oceanside CA., and has had solo exhibitions in New York, California, Boston and Sao Paulo, Brazil, and was chosen by Sotheby’s for their Young International Artists group show and auction in Tel Aviv, Vienna and Chicago.