Melanie Reese was born in 1991 in Livingston, NJ. She received her B.S. from Skidmore College in 2013. During that time she studied at Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence. She completed an artist residency at Elsewhere Studios in 2013 and went on to receive a Post-Baccalaureate certificate from San Francisco Art Institute in 2014. Mel received her MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC in May 2017 and attended the Vermont Studio Center residency in November 2017.

Mel has had solo exhibitions at R&D Studios Bushwood and Suzette LaValle in Brooklyn, NY. She has also shown in several selected group and juried exhibitions including All Kinds of Wonder and Connection at The Gallery at the Watershed in Eugene, Oregon; Post-Appreciation at the Diego Rivera Gallery at San Francisco Art Institute; Remember Me Offline at the Curatorial Practices Department at SVA in Manhattan; Play Me A Game at the Skybridge Gallery at Eugene Lang College; Breach at Rabbit Hole Studio in Dumbo; Girls Gone Wild Spring Break Edition at R&D Studios Bushwood; Cognitive Dissidence at Ray Smith Studio; The Map is Not the Territory at the Brooklyn Pfizer Building; the 58th Long Island Artist Exhibition at the Art League of Long Island; and Unicode at SVA Flatiron Gallery in Chelsea, NY. Melanie’s work has been published in New American Paintings Northeast Issue 134, Inside Artists, Studio Visit Magazine, Artwork Archive Blog, Vellum Magazine, KINDLAND, and Wallhop.

Artist Statement

I create abstract, minimal, color-based paintings exploring the act of painting itself through various techniques of layering. Layering occurs through repeated actions of outlining forms by ‘painting’ the negative space with liquid masking tape—a technique adapted from my printmaking experience. The shape of each form is not only informed by the canvas size, but by the way in which the edge of the form interacts with the canvas edge. I explore this methodology through two layering techniques. 

The first involves pouring a single color of acrylic paint into the outlined form and dragging the paint across the canvas until entirely covered. The natural tooth of the canvas exposes each drag—revealing my process. After removing the liquid tape, a positive form with clean, precise edges remains. This same process of controlled manipulation and layering is repeated until the composition is complete. 

The second method utilizes spray-painting a single color over the central form yielding an opaque, matte finish. A new layer of liquid tape is then applied within the colored form, and a new, smaller form is outlined. Glossy varnish is sprayed—no color is added. The result is two, positive, inlaid forms with clean, precise edges. This process emphasizes the various ways light is able to inform a single color. 

"Composition works with color, with surface, and with light to create an abstract visual reality that I wish to exist solely on its strength as art.” -Susan Frecon 

My earlier figurative work is very informative to my current abstract paintings and the relationship between the two can be seen in my fascination with line and edge.

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