On View:  October 6 – December 10, 2022

Mel Prest:
The Golden Hour

Exhibition catalog and essay by John Yau available at the museum or order here.


The Golden Hour refers to the hour before sunset and twilight, at the end of a day. The sun’s rays stretch longer, illuminating everything with a final burst of enchanting light before sinking behind the horizon. For me, the shift from day to night feels like transition from exuberance to stillness; both vital states of being. 

These paintings are inspired by nature, which is always changing. I observe the magic of fleeting color phenomena like mirages, rainbows, the movement of the sky and the ocean. Color is something I feel rather than observe and record precisely from nature. Color is important to me as it transmits sensations; I want my colors to taste like a flavor, feel like a touch or waft like a scent. My colors are often inspired by wildflowers and watching the sky.

I highlight these ephemeral moments in my paintings by using fluorescent, metallic, or phosphorescent paint and mica that flickers, glows or is shadowed in different light conditions. I paint many unruled and overlapping lines in three colors. This creates the appearance of a handwoven mesh or an undulating soft geometry of shifting space. Upon viewing, the visual effects are different, person to person. The feeling of slipping time and optical confusion remind the viewer that you are seeing something unknown reveal itself, become a painting in front of you.


Mel Prest is a non-objective painter whose work is focused on color and perceptual visual relationships and has exhibited internationally. Recent solo shows include: Time is Knots on a String at Galleri Urbane (2022), Color Unfolding at K Imperial Fine Art (2021), lux at Galleri Urbane (2018), Lilac Aura at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary (2017), In Praise of Planetary Time at B Sakata Garo (2016) in Sacramento, COLOR CHANT at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary (2015), Oakland; MoonBrightChime at Galleri Urbane (2014), Dallas. Her works have been included in group shows at: The Drawing Center, New York, NY; The Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Durham, NC; Saturation Point ACME studios, London, UK; Zeitgeist gallery, Nashville, TN; IS Projects, Leiden, The Netherlands; Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, PA. Prest has been awarded funded artist residencies at: Ragdale, The Sam and Adele Golden Artist Foundation, Willapa Bay AiR, The Wassaic Project and Vermont Studio Center, Bullseye Glass, among others.

Prest received her BFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Mills College in Oakland. Prest has taught at Mills College, San Francisco State University and adult education courses at: San Francisco City College, San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts and Root Division. She is currently an advisory board member of Root Division, a non-profit arts organization in San Francisco and served as a board member from 2012-2014. She is an artist advisory board member of Trestle Gallery in Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Prest served on the advisory board of The Art Monastery Project, Calvi della Umbria and Labro, Italy from 2007-2010.

As an independent curator, Prest has organized shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Bay Area, New York, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich and Zagreb. She is also a founding member of Transmitter, a collaborative curatorial gallery initiative in Bushwick area of Brooklyn, New York.

Prest has curated Sensate Objects to compliment her solo exhibition within the Schneider Museum of Art to run concurrently.

Exhibition Catalog with essay by John Yau

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Exhibition Checklist

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Sensate Objects
Curated by Mel Prest

Creative Industries Discussion: Mel Prest

Creative Industries Discussion: Marc Mitchell

Creative Industries Discussion: Pat Boas

Creative Industries Discussion: Sue Taylor

Order Sensate Objects Catalog