Melanie Vote

Gallery, Shows
Melanie Vote, "Head as Home (Maquette)", unfried clay, cowpie, found objects and materials, 10 x 10 x 12 inches, 2010

Melanie Vote, “Head as Home (Maquette)”, unfried clay, cowpie, found objects and materials, 10 x 10 x 12 inches, 2010

Melanie Vote:

In 2007 I began to replicate my childhood toys in plaster, the white forms then seemed to me akin to archaic sculptures. The casting or replication process created a certain level of remove, rendering the forms universal rather than individual icons. But at the same time, I felt a greater intimacy between the subjects and myself.  These objects I then used as maquettes for paintings: inserting them into landscapes both real and imagined.

The process of creating the interaction between the sculptures and landscapes has elicited unimagined elements and surprises. Sometimes the sculptural element is envisioned first and then I must find it’s location, at other times the opposite occurs, with the landscape initiating the object.

The images I have created also take inspiration from my fascination with with monolithic icons of antiquity: such as the enormous heads erected by the Olmec (their culture now extinct these giant heads left behind in the landscape, almost like boulders remaining centuries after a glacier has passed, seem odd, out of place, even magical: the objects of mythic rites or even other worlds).  These icons make me question the place of the icon in contemporary culture and wonder at what will be the relic of our lives once we too have disappeared.

In the works where I am incorporating the cast or sculpted elements into paintings of contemporary American landscapes, they too seem like ruins or monoliths, and become archeological evidence of a society with questionable substance to leave behind.

And although many of these works are devoid of human forms, there is sometimes the evidence of their passing: seemingly inhabited ruins depict post-apocalyptic scenes where the individual in residence is patching together a life, patching together the traces of the past; making the most of what is left and finding solace and perhaps even joy within the aftermath.

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