Melanie creates vivid figurative paintings in oil and evocative drawings that explore time and place. Working from observation, and a range of imagery, she has made small studies of solitary objects, large scale ‘snapshot’ images and composite paintings, as well as an extensive portfolio of portrait commissions.
She is drawn to subjects that evoke universal feelings of nostalgia or collective memory and myth. How space is experienced and imagined and how we connect with place.
She is interested in the aesthetic and dynamic of manmade spaces and landscapes, especially those used by crowds of people moving through them, separate but together - holiday resorts, train stations, airports, shopping centres. Paintings set in these banal environments look incidental, yet there is a feeling of connection to others when we share these transient places.
This sense of collective experience and belonging to the world comes to mind when we consider our cultural myths. Melanie’s practice is influenced also by her love of film and literature; artforms that re-imagine and recreate time and place. She is interested in how we are connected through the way we collect and engage with images through our cultural experiences. How these impact our expectations while navigating the world and how the mythical gets tangled up with our personal experience and memory. This is reflected in paintings composed of images sourced from various people at various times.
Memory and nostalgia has a new significance right now, when there are huge limitations on accessing the places we used to enjoy. Imagining this ‘life before’ - memories of holidays, visiting our childhood or parent’s homes or even a bus journey up the road induces intense feelings of nostalgia and longing. Images of desire have a whole new meaning.