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 and will be attending JX Farms in 2023. 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.

“Sustainability isn’t necessarily about being zero waste and vegan. A sustainable world is built on the human right to have choice: choice over our bodies, our environments, our impact.” – Sophia Li

Artist Statement

Mel Reese is a Brooklyn-based observational painter 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 echo the representational through symbolic formalism.

Her most recent work is heavily influenced by her life as a young woman living in the US, focusing on the increasingly tethered connection between bodily autonomy and our natural landscape. Embracing the body as the vessel and nature as the foundation of human existence, Reese seeks to expose the complex yet innate connection between human rights and climate justice in present day America as a means of generating conversations of sustainable choice through the lens of bodily autonomy and landscape.

Utilizing her entirely unique painting through mono-printing, liquid-tape process, Reese’s observations are a particular confluence of quiet distilled down forms and loud symbolic patterning. Through precise layering of minimalist forms, Reese is creating a lexicon of intrinsically human gestures that–when combined with bold, vaginally inspired, and historical patterns–her paintings become narrative.

Reese’s work is currently in an exciting stage of growth and exploration that is constantly expanding on further combinations of these ideas and techniques, such as her recent exploration of creating sculptures using only natural Manilla rope.

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