• Melissa Meier

    Artist

  • Skins

     

    Brazilian artist Melissa Meier is internationally recognized for her evocative 3-dimensional installations, found-object sculptures, collages and photography. In her current series “SKINS”, Meier has created sculptural clothing hybrids, utilizing natural materials such as leaves, stones, fur, scales, sticks, feathers, pinecones and shells.

     

    Inspired by Brazilian Carnival and Native American skin-walkers, her wearable constructions blend female empowerment with a self-created mythology, developed around the idea of ancient cultures of female warriors, exemplifying strength, beauty and unity of life lived in harmony with the elements. Her warrior women are breathtakingly sensual, while radiating a searing combination of purity and power.

     

    Meier states, “At first I was inspired by the legends of indigenous people and how they used the skins of animals to transform into them, creating a bridge between the human and animal worlds. But as my work matured, I became equally interested in the future of fashion as an extreme form of kinetic sculpture.”

     

    The costumes are developed into moveable, wearable sculptures that are brought to Life as performance art works, serve as independent sculptures and in their final documented form as archival fine art photographs.

     

    This is where the work creates a bridge to the present and allows us to connect with and find ourselves reflected in her images of hidden, treasured cultures, heroines and spirit guides, imagined and real.

     

  • Head

    For the "Head" series, Meier constructed a 250 pound head made entirely out of brown packing paper and clear tape. Originally used to cover and protect an entire household of family items for a move overseas, the paper and tape's 5,000 mile journey ended with the rumpled and disparate parts being repurposed into a peaceful whole, photographed in its new natural and suburban settings.

  • Glass-Eyed

    In the "GLASS-EYED" series Meier is exploring 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 during her six month stay in Japan in 1991 where she became quite 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.

  • Laced

     

    A doily is an ornamental mat of lace that is laid under crockery and decorative objects in order to protect the fine wood from scratches - its openwork allows the surface of the underlying object to show through. In the "LACED" series, Meier has chosen vintage doily patterns and has superimposed them on the faces of female subjects. The shapes of the faces, expressions, and attitudes of the women dictate the choice of doily.

     

    Doily patterns are the ultimate symbol of elegance, femininity and propriety, yet one wonders if they also represent the repression of women. Meier reminds us of stuffy tea parties in the Victorian era, where women’s outfits alone were more than constricting.

     

    In Meier's works, the doily is violently embroidered onto the face; often the more dainty and intricate the pattern, the more aggressive the mask appears. Through this skin, women with attitude stare back. While Meier has photographed her chosen subjects like police mug shots, the women are not weak and afraid. They are empowered and ready to fight.

     

    Throughout history, warriors have used facial masks, tattoos, and body painting in order to intimidate and threaten their enemy. Even comic book super heroes don masks to intimidate. Here the doily-clad women are transformed into masked warriors. And in this case, with their own cut skin.

     

  • Construction

    The "CONSTRUCTION" series confronts social and spiritual issues by incorporating antique objects with vintage photographs into narrative assemblage. The constructions explore aspects of femininity, the perceived, projected, expected, and the actual... and are often conceived through memories, dreams and fears. The works often include articles that Meier finds in flea markets, antique stores and trash bins.

  • Selected Solo Exhibitions

     

    2018

    Skins, Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, CA

     

    2011

    Laced, Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, CA

    Laced, Bleicher Gallery La Brea, Los Angeles, CA

     

    2006

    James Gray Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA

     

    2005

    James Gray Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA

     

    2004

    Revelations, Foundation, Venice, CA

     

    1999

    Revelations, Gallery 57, Cambridge, MA

     

    1998

    “Love” “Marriage” “Hearth”, from the Goddess Series, Gallery 70, Worcester, MA

     

    1997

    Melissa Meier, Barbara Singer Fine Art, Cambridge, MA

     

    1994

    Assemblages of the Imagination, Annext Gallery, New York, NY

     

    1993

    Olhos Livres, State of Sao Paulo Pinacotheca, Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Olhos Livres, Espaço Cutural Yazigi, Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Olhos Livres, Casa Do Olhar, Nucleo De Artes Plasticas, Sao Paulo, Brazil

     

    Selected Duo Exhibitions

     

    2017

    Skin, Melissa Meier and Marisa Caichiolo

    bG Gallery at Bergamot Station, SM, CA

    Getty Foundation Initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

     

    Selected Group Exhibitions

     

    2019

    Dress Rehearsal, Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, CA

     

    2019

    Love Songs, Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, CA

     

    2017

    Striking Portraits, bG Gallery at Bergamot Station, SM, CA

     

    2015

    Combines, bG Gallery at Bergamot Station, SM, CA

    Grayscale Wonderland, bG Gallery at Bergamot Station, SM, CA

     

    2014

    Dirty Minds: Life on Earth, bG Gallery at Bergamot Station, SM, CA

    Spectrum Gestalt, bG Gallery at Bergamot Station, SM, CA

     

    2013

    Circle of Logic, bG Gallery at 1431 Ocean Ave, SM, CA

    Bold Nostalgia, bG Gallery at 1431 Ocean Ave, SM, CA

     

    2012

    Anniversary Show, Bleicher Gallery, La Brea, LA, CA

     

    2011

    Pilot Test, Bleicher Gallery La Brea, Los Angeles, CA

    Portraits of the Fallen Memorial, Terrel Morre Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

    Weight, Wire, Sway: Los Angeles, Keller Williams Larchmont, Los Angeles, CA

     

    2010

    Days of Wine and Roses, Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, CA

    Carporale/Bleicher Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

    Iconoclassic, Bleicher/Golightly Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

     

    2005/6

    2005/6 Twisted Christmas, James Gray Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA

    Contact, Studio 18 LA, West Hollywood, CA

     

    2000

    Material Revelations: Variations on Collage, Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA

    Blue, Lowell Street Gallery, Cambridge, MA

    The Home Show, John Slade Ely House, New Haven, CT

    Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Gallery, Boston, MA

     

    1998

    Fort Point Arts Community, Boston, MA

    Gallery 70 Group Show, Worcester, MA

     

    1995

    Audio Arts, New York, NY

    As Marionetes, Galeria Artes Applicada, Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Mini Biennial Show, Chapel Art Show, Sao Paulo, Brazil

     

    1994

    The Box Show, K & E Gallery, New York, NY

    Woman’s Work, Annext Gallery, New York, NY

     

    1992

    Exposiçao de Artes Plasticas, Renato Magalhaes Gouveia Gallery, SP, Brazil

     

     

    Auctions

     

    2006/7/8/10/11

    Show & Tell, Zimmer Children’s Museum

    (The art of Time, Harmony, Vision, Knowledge and Building)

     

    2003/4

    Venice Art Walk & Auction

     

    2001

    Artlink @ Sotheby’s, on-line exhibitions and auctions

     

    2000

    Artlink @ Sotheby’s, exhibitions and auctions in Tel Aviv, Vienna, and Chicago

     

    1998

    Artcetera to benefit the AIDS Action Committee, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA

     

     

    Selected Public Collections

     

    Safra Bank, Sao Paulo, Brazil

     

     

    Commercial Work

     

    Illustrations for the New York Times Book Review (covers), Washington Post, Time, Fortune, Discover, Penthouse,

    MTV and VH1

  • About

    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, for example, with her “Laced” series, she photographed mug shot 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?

     

    Meier spent most of her childhood in Brazil. She received a B.A. from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She has exhibited her work in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and was chosen by Sotheby's for their Young International Artists group show and auction in Tel Aviv, Vienna and Chicago. Most recently, in Los Angeles, she has shown at Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts, Bleicher Golightly Gallery, Caporale/Bleicher Gallery and James Gray Gallery at Bergamot Station.