L I G H T | I N T E R P L A Y
Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert | 14 May - 7 June 2020
S Y N E R G Y : Dichroic 2020 | Perspex, vinyl, dichroic film | 55 x 71 x 1.7cm
T O T E M S P L I T 2020 | CNC milled polished acrylic on acrylic base 17 cm w X 17 cm d X 62 cm h
C O M B I N E P A N E L S Dichroic 2020 | Acrylic based paints on wooden panels, perspex with dichroic film | 50 x 40 x 18 cm
C O M B I N E P A N E L S Mint Green (I & II) 2020 | Acrylic paint on perspex panels, laser cut perspex | 50 x 40 x 18 cm
C O M B I N E P A N E L S Orange Fizz (I & II) 2020 | Acrylic paint on perspex panels, laser cut perspex | 50 x 40 x 18 cm
C O M B I N E P A N E L S Bubblegum Blue (I & II) 2020 | Acrylic paint on perspex panels, laser cut perspex | 50 x 40 x 18 cm
C O M B I N E P A N E L S Lemon Bonbon (I & II) 2020 | Acrylic paint on perspex panels, laser cut perspex | 50 x 40 x 18 cm
C O M B I N E P A N E L S Sourgrape (I & II) 2020 | Acrylic paint on perspex panels, laser cut perspex | 50 x 40 x 18 cm
Written by Chloe Wolifson
Ellipses orbit each other and intersect, creating compositional segments that advance and recede before our eyes. Natural and artificial light spills out from expected boundaries, expanding and contracting the space between viewer and artwork. Colour masquerades as both opaque and translucent, shining and matte, glittering and smooth. Fluorescent and phosphorescent hues vie for our attention as the lighting conditions change. In making a single work, Heidi Melamed is in fact making a work that can exist in multiple states simultaneously, depending on our own perceptual experience. This is painting, with light.
Over recent years, Melamed’s studio practice has evolved from experimental works employing a variety of materials to increasingly refined yet complex objects and installations. Parabolas are embedded in acrylic which has been CNC milled, painted and polished, and in laser-cut plywood relief sculptures, Perspex and neon parabolas and curves nest around one another, ringed with a glowing halo. Regardless of media, these works can be thought of as expanded paintings, in which colour and light play the role of brushstroke.
These works transcend age and language boundaries, as light and colour belong to a universal vocabulary of visual, physical and psychological understanding. The artist acknowledges that in our contemporary world, meaning has shifted from the object to the experience. Armed with this consideration, Melamed creates standalone pieces and installations that paint with light.
Employing elements such as coloured Perspex and glitter alongside paint of varying degrees of translucency and viscosity, Melamed’s works incorporate light into the surface of the painting and disperse it back into its surrounding environment. A viewer can experience a work in a multitude of ways and Melamed composes her works to allow for this experience to occur to its fullest. Installation elements are placed in such a way as to change their visual impact depending on the location of the viewer as well as the ambient light conditions in the space.
The parabola is at the core of all this. This shape has been explored by Melamed throughout her recent practice, appearing in geometric form through laser-cut materials such as Perspex and ply, as well as in organic form through dripped and poured paint. The layering of these two states of the ovoid, using a variety of materials incorporating colour and light, allows for the creation of compositions that can be read in a multitude of ways spatially. Perhaps we are exploring a dark forest or an undersea grotto, gazing at a planetary constellation or meteor shower, or navigating a complex internal psychological space. Self-contained paintings featuring organic parabolic drips in moody blues, rich purples and shimmering gold draw the viewer into a contemplative reverie.
Melamed’s works strike a delicate balance between the controlled and the unexpected. In laying down the compositional and material boundaries for a piece, the artist arranges a scenario in which the artwork-object is the starting point, colour and light are permitted to interplay via these expanded paintings, and ultimately a unique viewing experience is the result.