Melissa Beck
  • Female
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • United States
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  • Jonathan McCormack
  • Rafaela Senfft
  • Steven Felix-Jager
  • Timothy Walsh
  • Maria Fee
  • Rondall Reynoso
  • Ryan Stander
  • Kenneth Steinbach
  • Shannon Steed Sigler

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Art Interests
Arts Ministry, Arts Organization, Education, Fiber Arts, Furniture, Graphic Design, Installation, Mixed Media, Museum/Gallery, Sculpture
Artist / Personal Statement
Familiar objects such as a drawer, garment, or fork have the presence to evoke feelings, visions, and memories. It’s these memories or vague recollection that I desire to awaken through my art. The mere sight of a piece of cake or furniture recalls colors, smells, or spaces that were perhaps significant in one’s childhood or life at a prior time. It’s this subtle sensation, not fully understood or able to be described, which drives much of my art.
I repeatedly come back to this idea as it reveals what it is in me and what it is in the objects themselves that is comforting yet ambiguous. I always begin my art making process with the objects themselves. Something about these items and their relationship to each other invokes deep interest in me. So deep, that my understanding of this interest is quite abstruse to me. Through the making and meditating upon these pieces am I able to somewhat satisfy my enigmatic intrigue. My work is thus represented in a way that makes what the objects are unclear. Books become bread and bread become books, food becomes fake food and then becomes wallpaper, wood boxes become sinks, but not exactly sinks. None of the objects are definitely one thing or remain one thing. It’s in this state of “becoming” that I find the intrigue as these objects start to become fakes.
Humor and satire play a role in my works as well. There is hilarity to these objects becoming something fake or hybrids of two things at one time. A certain absurdity results, making the objects mockeries of what they imitate or perhaps a mockery of themselves. I find myself between the mockery and the preciousness of the objects. While I see these objects as superficial, at the same time I am also enamored with them.
Even still, my own experiences with home are severely precious to me. Growing up, each house my family lived in has its specific memory and feeling. The most significant house was one my parents designed, which after five years became unstable to live in as we were forced to move. Memories consist of revisiting the site it once lived where only carpet, hardwood floors, fireplaces, and piles of cabinets, knobs and bathtubs remain.
Each of the objects I use in my art is important in exactly what it is. By slightly elevating these objects they become treasured and confined to a state of admiration, almost out of protection. By placing certain ambiguous objects such as buttons, forks, and shoelaces into a confined small container held within liquid, I am able to keep them safe and in their place. They become settled and secure as if they are never going to be moved again. However, by being sunk beneath the surface of the dark tea or coatings of murky wax, objects become obscured. Even further, items coated in wax become preserved, appearing suspended in time. Such objects become out of reach and possibly too safe, lost or neglected. As banal as they are, the once functional objects are now objects of pure observation.
About her work, Eva Hesse said “I would like the work to be non-work. This means that it would find its way beyond my preconceptions. What I want of my art I can eventually find. The work must go beyond this.” I want that same obscurity and fluidity to my art as each time it is viewed, installed, constructed and dismantled to have a new line added to the discussion of what it is and what it is doing. I believe success of a piece of art comes when not only the audience, but myself as the artist is able to be pleasantly surprised. That the finished work would speak and bring forth ideas or concepts that go beyond what was intended or imagined.
Accomplishments / CV
Melissa Browder Beck
171 Waverly Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

MFA-Fine Art in sculpture
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY 2013
BA-Studio Art with Business Administration Minor
Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA 2008

“Welcome Show” installation in group exhibition
Dekalb Gallery at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY 2012

“All That Remains” four installation & sculpture pieces in group exhibition
Sushi Performance & Visual Art, San Diego, CA 2010

“Popped” sculpture in group exhibition
Gallery 2306 at Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA 2010

“Recycled Fashion Show” garments constructed from paper road maps
California Center for the Arts, Escondido, CA 2009

“Moda Fashion Show” collection of five designed and constructed garments
California Center for the Arts, Escondido, CA 2009

“Sprinkle” Senior Exhibition six installation pieces in solo exhibition
Keller Gallery at Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA 2008

AWARDS at Point Loma Nazarene University
Theatre Department Scholarship-costume designs 2007-2008
Art Department Scholarship recipient each year 2005-2007
Driftwood Magazine-published artwork & photography, 2nd & 3rd place recipient each year 2005-2007

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Comment Wall (5 comments)

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At 3:02pm on April 19, 2012, Jennifer Kimbrough said…

I really enjoy your work!  It reminds me some of a friend of mine, who also deals with the preciousness of home that she evokes through installation.  You should check her out, she just finished an art internship with a Christian mission down in Australia.  

At 12:12am on April 5, 2012, Rondall Reynoso said…

I hope you are enjoying your time at Pratt. I really enjoyed it.

At 8:00am on March 27, 2012, Timothy Walsh said…

Thanks for the add! Looks like you're new on here, too. Hope you're doing well!

At 10:22pm on March 26, 2012, Megan Jones said…

thanks so much for the comment!

At 9:04am on March 26, 2012, Shannon Steed Sigler said…

Hey Melissa!  Welcome to the Network.  It is great to see your work.  Thanks for sharing!



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