NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MILES McENERY GALLERY is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Douglas Melini. Intelligent Life Forms, the artist’s inaugural exhibition at the gallery, will open on 9 September at 511 West 22nd Street and remain on view through 16 October 2021. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication featuring an essay by Sara Roffino.
Douglas Melini’s most recent body of work is both a rigorous examination of material and color and an ethereal homage to nature. For over twenty years, Melini has explored the abstract and pictorial nature of image making. Engaging with the landscape and abstraction in nature, his new work conflates the visual realms of geometric abstraction with the natural order of environmental creation.
The artist’s Tree Paintings are composed from weathered, reclaimed wood that is stained and saturated with color, and then amalgamated with densely applied layers of oil paint on linen. A juxtaposition occurs between the naturally eroded surface of the wood with the hand applied, brushed layers of accumulated oil paint. “The eye is drawn into the planks of wood, tracing the natural deep furrows and ridges of the material,” Roffino elaborates, “The central canvases are builtup and out with meaty paint, to the point that the center shape of each work becomes an almost sculptural protrusion outward into space. The effect is a subtle, but persistent, optical vibration.”
In addition to his recent paintings, Melini has created intimate collages composed from a vast selection of mushroom imagery, staged against a backdrop of fluid, vivid layers of watercolor. Upon a close encounter with the works, “hundreds of different mushroom shapes, colors and sizes emerge, and dance around the perimeter of the paper to serve in some sense as a frame for the color studies within,” reveals Roffino. These works are finished with handmade frames also made from stained reclaimed wood. Melini’s hand-painted artist frames operate as a wholly separate entity in their own right. The distressed wood offers a depth of material as well as a conceptual complexity in terms of its relationship to the mushroom and to the history of painting. They generate a sculptural presence by activating the piece from all angles, ultimately fusing image and object.
In direct symbiosis with the paintings, the mushroom collages are a play on the connective relationships these fungi have with the forests they inhabit, as both the genesis of life, as well as the harbingers of death. The collages operate as microcosms, requiring an intimate and closer look by virtue of the work’s smaller scale.
DOUGLAS MELINI (b. 1972, Vineland, NJ) received his Bachelor of Arts from University of Maryland, College Park, MD, in 1994 and his Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA, in 1997. He completed an artist residency at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, Brooklyn, NY, in 2013.
Recent solo exhibitions include “Into the Woods,” SOCO Gallery, Charlotte, NC; “Starry Sky,” Van Doren Waxter, New York, NY; “When the Moon Hangs on the Wall: Landscapes, Seascapes, and Abstracts,” Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR; “Douglas Melini,” Phillip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, MO; “You Have to Peer Into the Sky to See the Stars,” 11R, New York, NY; “Douglas Melini,” Eleven Rivington, New York, NY; “A Sharing of Color and Being Part of It,” Feature Inc., New York, NY; “It Flows Over Us Without Meaning,” Minus Space, Brooklyn, NY; “Beyond the Dirty Light,” Ursula Werz, Tubingen, Germany; “Positively Do Not Block the Gate,” Rocket Gallery, London, United Kingdom; “White Room,” White Columns, New York, NY and “Head On,” Homeroom, Munich, Germany.
Recent group exhibitions include “Energy in All Directions,” Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY; “Chroma,” Van Doren Waxter, New York, NY; “STARS,” Philip Slein Gallery, St Louis, MO; “Pulled in Brooklyn,” International Print Center New York, New York, NY; “The Twenty By Sixteen Biennial,” Morgan Lehman, New York, NY; “People, Place and Things...,” Philip Slein Gallery, St Louis, MO; “Geometric Behavior,” Ikast Kunstpakhuset, Copenhagen, Denmark; Edge, Philip Slein Gallery, St Louis, MO; “Confluence Influence in Contemporary Abstraction,” Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, Long Island City, NY; “Eat a Peach,” Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY, “Breaking Pattern,” Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR and “Colour and Line,” Raygun Projects, Toowoomba, Australia.
Melini has been involved in numerous curatorial projects including “Between This Light and That and Space,” Minus Space, Brooklyn, NY; “Douglas Melini/Take 5,” Progress Report; “Viewlist: I Can Read in Red, I Can Read In Blue, I Can Read in Pickle Color Too...”, Minus Space, New York, NY and “The Difficult Shapes of Possible Images,” ZieherSmith Gallery, New York, NY.
He is the recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship in Painting, New York, NY, Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Studio Residency and Change Inc. Grant, Brooklyn, NY, and Nominee, Painters and Sculptors Grant, Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York, NY. His work is included in the permanent collections of The Daimler Collection, Berlin, Germany; The Jill and Peter Kraus Collection, Dutchess County, NY; Neuberger Berman LLC, New York, NY; The Progressive Corporation, Cleveland, OH; Wellspring Capital Corporation, New York, NY; and The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery Collection at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.
Douglas Melini lives and works in New Jersey.