When the Moon Hangs on the Wall: Landscapes, Seascapes, and Abstracts
Ever since I can remember I‘ve been drawn to color; it‘s the foundation of some of my earliest memories and it has become the groundwork for my painting practice. I was introduced to the medium of painting as a young child, but I wasn’t exposed to the history of painting until I began to visit art museums in my late teens. From that moment on, I was hooked. In my studio practice I’m constantly mining this history, looking and surveying to see how painters of the past used the medium to create unique visual spaces that connect with the time in which they were made. Because of paintings long history, one can easily reach back to earlier models as a way of moving forward.
My paintings explore both the abstract and pictorial nature of making an image. The drawn line is loaded with so much information and emotion, it sets up the basic elements of a pictorial space such as figure and ground. These basics elements are a vital necessity for recognizing objects through vision. They inform how we read an image and allow us to create and experience a space that has meaning for us.
I like to think of my paintings as being built, put together part by part. The paintings are made by layering elements through a collage like process and their surfaces reveal this process. I build up a surface like an architectural space, one level at a time, where every step is apparent, until finally a finished state is revealed, presenting the viewer with very distinct visual elements that coalesce into an overall image. The starting point is a grid like patterned space. Atop this network sits thick knifed on, smeared, and brushed layers of oil paint, creating surfaces of paint that are both thin and transparent as well as thick and sculptural. The surfaces become landscapes of both our inner and outer spaces.
The paintings are finished with hand-painted stained artist frames. The frames operate as a sort of view finder for the contained images. They fuse image and object, making the paintings functionally akin to a devotional piece; this connects the work to my interest in the relationship between the maker and viewer of revered objects. While my aim for the viewing experience is not strictly speaking spiritual, an intuitive spirit resonates in the process of construing and finding meaning. My paintings offer the viewer an encounter with geometry, patterning, and color which reflects both the micro and macro spaces of the world we live in today.
Douglas Melini (b. 1972) lives and works in New York. He was educated at CalArts, LA (MFA) and the University of Maryland, College Park (BA). Melini has had solo exhibitions at Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR (2018); Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, MO (2017); 11R, NY (2017); Feature Inc., NY (2012), NY; The Suburban, Oak Park, IL (2011); Minus Space, Brooklyn (2009); a White Room at White Columns, NY (2003); and Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica (1998), among others. Group exhibitions include People, Place and Things… at Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, MO (2018); Breaking Pattern at Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR (2015), Minus Space: A Survey of Reductive and Post Minimal Work, curated by Phong Bui, at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2008); and Two by Two for Aids and Art at Dallas Art Museum, Dallas, TX (2003), among others.His work has been reviewed and featured in The New York Times, The New Criterion, Time Out, and New York Magazine.