Monday, January 05, 2009

Melanie Bilenker

My mind is boggled and blown. I'd seen Melanie Bilenker's work years ago, and was happy to come across it again. Artists often incorporate difficult media and techniques into their work, but it's rare that the difficulty of the technique is equally matched or complemented by their level of creative execution. Or that such a complication is even relevant to the work. To wit: artists who are lauded for using 'Old Masters techniques' but don't seem to know what to do with them; as if the work is expected to stand on the use of those techniques alone. Never mind if it makes an insipid or poorly composed work. But I ramble.

Melanie's work in jewelry is incomprehensibly difficult, minute, innovative, unique and absolutely gorgeous. Her lines are fine, her drawing abilities astonishing, her subject matter gorgeously restrained. She marries her abilities and technique in a blissful union. I am most impressed by her poetic reverse-application to lend dimension and depth to the composition.

Oh, did I tell you all the lines are made of single strands of human hair? From her statement:

The Victorians kept lockets of hair and miniature portraits painted with ground hair and pigment to secure the memory of a lost love. In much the same way, I secure my memories through photographic images rendered in lines of my own hair, the physical remnants. I do not reproduce events, but quiet minutes, the mundane, the domestic, the ordinary moments.

Melanie's work will be on display at Oregon College of Art & Craft, January 15, 2009 - February 22, 2009.

(via Little Verses)