Exhibit by Melissa Dawn
Torrent is a series of cryptographic writings connected to form nine scrolls. The drawings are an architectural transcription of words that are never meant to be decoded by the viewer, or even read later by the artist. Instead, the arrangement of shapes becomes its own visual language of lines and spaces. A turbulent outpouring for the creator is translated into a contained record for the viewer – a map of the internal landscape, of what was told and yet remains concealed, or simply a pattern made of words written in code.
Jessie Wilber Gallery
May 14– July 2, 2021
Melissa’s practice serves as a personal means to observe, order, record, and remember. Process is the primary driver of her work, and the resulting pieces are viewed as offerings of artifacts, maps, and stories. Melissa works in varied media – prints, drawings, sculptures, installations, and dance – because each medium has its own sensory properties and allows for different investigations. The primary themes of Melissa’s work are the recollection of memory, the meaning of gesture, and the connection of the earth and our sensing bodies.
She frequently employs matrixes and repetition, finding they offer both clarity and solace, and applies chance procedures in order to lessen habit and doubt. The graphite and kozo paper used in Torrent were chosen for their transitory and imperfect nature. The number of word blocks and their placement within the matrix of each drawing were determined by chance.
Melissa Dawn is an interdisciplinary artist currently living in Bozeman, Montana. She grew up in South Carolina where she developed a strong connection to the land and storytelling. Melissa became an educator after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and a Master of Arts in Teaching. She spent five years studying and performing modern dance in New York City, where she completed the Professional Training Program at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio. Her work is influenced by her study of Cunningham’s technique and choreography, leading her to regularly use chance procedures in both her art and dance compositions.
After moving to Bozeman, Melissa completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Montana State University with concentrations in printmaking and sculpture. She was recognized as an outstanding art senior with a Bronze Pencil Award and received an MSU Award of Excellence. Melissa is the Assistant Registrar for the Division of the Humanities at Museum of the Rockies, maintains a dedicated art studio practice, and exhibits her work in the region. She is a dancer and choreographer for Raison D’être Dance Project and Collective Movement and continues to present her choreography independently.
Thank you to the following sponsor for generously supporting this exhibit and our Schools & Seniors in the Gallery Program: