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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Melanie Vote

Two series are presented here. The first is an investigation of our culture and its ills, and the latter asks what will remain, metaphorically speaking, when we are gone.

The Girl series plays out various desires and fears. The images of women are initially appropriated, enduring many changes, serving only as a launching pad. At first glance, the viewer may be seduced by their beauty only to realize an underlying conflict. Our culture as a whole is cushioned by adversity in the world. We live protected comfortable lives. Reading about the world’s ills over a cup of coffee in the morning may heighten one’s awareness of the problems, but few are really doing anything to find a cure. Perhaps this is how I feel as an artist, I am making pictures, which is a rather decadent thing to partake in when the world seems to be spinning out of control.

In the last few years I have begun to replicate childhood toys in plaster, to imbue them with a sculptural quality, and to use them as maquettes to paint from. The casting or replication process creates a certain level of remove, rendering the forms universal rather than individual icons. At the same time, this process further creates a level of intimacy between the subject and myself.

Interaction with landscapes both familiar and new illicit imagined elements of surprise.
Sometimes the sculptural element is envisioned first then the landscape must be found, other times, the opposite, with the landscape initiating the image.

I am fascinated in monolithic icons of antiquity, such as the enormous heads erected by the Olmec, who lived in what is now San Lorenzo. These icons make me question what it means that our contemporary culture has so few. By placing the cast toys within the contemporary American landscape as ruins and monoliths, they become archeological evidence of a society with questionably little substance to leave behind.

The most recent works involve imagery of inhabited ruins.
These post apocalyptic scenes depict a patching together of and making the most of what is left, finding solace and perhaps even joy within the aftermath.

M.F.A. 1998
Painting, The Graduate School of Figurative Art
New York Academy of Art, (cum laude) New York, NY

B.F.A. 1995
Craft Design, Iowa State University, Ames, IA


2009 Jentel, Artist in Residency, Banner Wyoming
2007 Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant
2007 Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Nebraska City Residency
2003 The Rosenthal Foundation Best of Show Award, annual 54th Art of the North East, at Silvermine GuildArts Center
2002 Full Fellowship for an Artist in Residency at the Vermont Studio Center, Sponsored by the Dodge Foundation
1997 Academic Scholarship Award, New York Academy of Art
1995 Anna Tohman Leadership Award
1994 Art and Design Chairperson Award

© Melanie Vote

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