Mel Reese is a Brooklyn-based abstract painter. She is an observational artist inspired by formalism. Lines, shapes, colors, and textures are as central to her work as is the process of creating them. A complex layering of these abstract elements allows her work to speak to the representational.

Her most recent series of paintings is inspired by nature. She methodically builds up sheer layers of monochromatic forms; each new layer informed by all previous layers. This process gives the painting a sculptural element as well as a sense of depth. Observations are simplified––distilling the essence of these natural forms reflects nature’s tendency to remove the extraneous.

Reese (b. 1991) holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Science from Skidmore College. She has completed Artist-in-Residencies at Vermont Studio Center in 2017 and Elsewhere Studios in 2013. She was on a panel for the “The Entrepreneurial Artist Workshop” at the Tang Museum and received the Award of Excellence from the 58th Long Island Artist Exhibition at the Art League of Long Island. Reese has exhibited widely throughout the United States and has been featured in several publications including New American Paintings Northeast Issue 134, New American Painting Featured Artists, Inside Artists, Studio Visit Magazine, and A Women’s Thing.

Melanie lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with her husband and cat, Miss Puds, who hates all of Mel’s paintings and is always her toughest critic.

Artist Statement

Mel Reeseis a Brooklyn-based observational painter inspired by formalism. Lines, shapes,colors, and textures are as central to her work as is the process of creatingthem. A complex layering of these abstract elements allows her work to echo therepresentational through symbolic formalism.

Reese’s mostrecent series is heavily influenced by the landscapes throughout the east endof Long Island–an area still actively engaging with its Indigenous history. Utilizingher entirely unique painting through printing process, Reese’s observations aredistilled down, removing the extraneous, to capture the essence of humaninteraction with natural forms and, ultimately, with one another.

Exposeddrags of complex layers of sheer paint lead you across the surface of eachpainting and through each layer. This exploration of abstract formalism enablesone to consider how these abstract elements were initially created, and toappreciate how they ultimately combine to call on the representational. Throughthis process, Reese seeks to expose the complex overlapping of nature,identity, and classification of the people who embody these landscapes.

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