Friday, January 15, 2010

New paintings by Melissa May will be shown at the J.D. Brooks Gallery at Fairmont State University's Wallman Hall from Jan. 21 to 29.

An opening reception and artist discussion is planned for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. Admission to the exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call Curator Marian Hollinger at (304) 367-4300.

An interest in world cultures and a close examination of the natural environment influence style and substance in the work of Melissa May, who has been an artist for more than 30 years. This can be seen in the abstraction of form, pattern, symbolism, expressive use of color and energetic brushwork.

"My work is inspired by world cultures and the natural environment. I look for connections between ideas and am interested in the human experience and spirituality. I hope my work conveys the beauty and the energy of the living world," May said.

"Just as an artist brings his or her own personal experiences to a work of art, so does the viewer. I look for images that are iconographic without being too specific or literal, so the viewer can find personal connections to the image. While I start with a specific physical visual source, through abstraction I am able to focus on the pure pleasure of color, pattern, texture and the process of painting."

Others have described her work as, "organic, transformative, atavistic, manifesting female divinity, and evocative of the primal."

In addition to painting, May has taught art to all ages and currently is the Executive Director of Pricketts Fort in Fairmont, an outdoor living history museum which emphasizes "Teaching History through the Arts."

Melissa May trained in painting at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, earning a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting, Art History and Museum Studies and a Master of Arts in Anthropology and Museum Studies from Eastern New Mexico University. May is a juried artist in Tamarack and a member of the West Virginia Arts and Craft Guild. Selected exhibits include: The Culture Center, Emerging Artists, 2009; Arts Monongahela, SMALL, 2009; 7th Biennial Guild Competition, 2008; Studio San Guiseppe, Artist Exchange 25 Year Reunion Show, 2005; Museum of the Horse, American Photography Juried Exhibition, 1998; The Machine Shop, Rebinding: Psyche, Spirit, Soul, 1994; Museum Center at Union Terminal, Multiculturalism: evolution and celebration, 1993; KZF Gallery, New Spirituality, 1992 to 1993; Liberties, Primitivism (solo show), 1991; Northern Kentucky University Gallery, Object Image Icon, 1989; Carnegie Arts Center, Conference of Cincinnati Women, 1988; The Contemporary Arts Center, Adelaide Australia, Object Image Icon, 1988; Carnegie Arts Center, Houses (solo show), 1984; Zenith Gallery, Washington DC, Shelter '85 National Juried Show, 1985; Cincinnati Art Museum Library (solo show), 1984; C.A.G.E. Gallery, Nature/Man/Nature, 1982; Franklin University, Ode to the Box, 1982; Renstchler Library, Miami University, Houses (solo show), 1982. Her work is in several permanent collections including Cincinnati Bell and The Culture Center.

"A River Runs Through It" by Melissa May