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  •  REVIEW: MELISSA MEYER: RECENT PAINTINGS

      Out of the Blues in Melissa Meyer: Recent Paintings
       Courtesy of Elizabeth Harris Gallery
      Out of the Blues
    De center holds

    Easy and relaxed abstract pleasures hold sway in Melissa Meyer's seemingly lackadaisical layers of calligraphic intensity, density and transparency

    By RACHEL YOUENS
    Offoffoff.com


    Known for her ability to combine lightness and monumental effect, Melissa Meyer garners a range of aesthetic approaches from the abstract tradition. Masters such as Klee and Pollock come to mind as providing stylistic paradigms for Meyers, but she takes their respective vocabularies to a place of lyrical brevity.

    MELISSA MEYER
    Exhibition: Recent Paintings.
    Works by: Melissa Meyer.
     SCHEDULE
    September 8 - October 8, 2005

    Gallery: Elizabeth Harris
    529 W 20th St., 6th floor
    New York NY
    Summer hours: Tue-Fri: 10-6
    Regular hours: Tue-Fri: 10-6
    Phone: (212) 463-9666

      
    While mid-twentieth century abstraction has served as a bedrock for Meyer, her painting style matured during the decades when feminist and postmodernist concerns were at the forefront of discussions about art. This context must have encouraged her to incorporate the notion of decentered experience into her paintings, thereby releasing them from the weight of her chosen tradition.

    Meyer's approach expanded again a few years ago when she was commissioned to compose large murals in Japan to create a pair of atrium murals for Tokyo's newest skyscraper, the Shiodome City Center.

    The palette of Meyer's paintings encompasses color harmonies of triads and quartets in blues, yellows, violets and occasional greens, which are enhanced by their autobiographical titles. With these tones, she emphasizes the frontality of the picture plane to lay warm washes across her canvases. These serve as grounds for mark making made with a broad brush. The pleasures of her paintings often take place through the interaction between these two layers with their interplay of density and transparency. Each of her fairly large works, which explore a variety of proportions, is subdivided into squarish compartments that read across and down from four to six or more areas, adding up to an effect of a quilted surface. The loose-knit seriality of her units is given variety through her hand as it wanders within each square and across, over and down. Thus Meyer's sequential renewal of smaller areas of squiggles and blobs tied across the surface of the canvas create the effect of luminous netting that spans across each painting.

      
      ...the immediacy and slight asymmetry of Meyer's classic painterly abstraction is heightened by an elevated if relaxed intensity.
      
    Meyer's simultaneous control of local areas and drumlike surfaces reaches a level of equilibrium that as if by coincidence, contributes to the overall unity of each work. The emotive tone of her units is one of lackadaisical intensity. The buoyancy of her marks is magnified by the moments when her peripheral vision is intact — they loop and meander with a sense of intentional wandering while they evoke a sophisticated primitivism. So that the immediacy and slight asymmetry of Meyer's classic painterly abstraction is heightened by an elevated if relaxed intensity.

    It is as if by default that the accumulation of her unitary motifs which often bleed from their respective compartmental frames reach their desired destination. In "Garden at Villa" ultramarine blues merge in liquefied ripples across the uppermost layer, its heightened chroma creating density and intensity. When she works in a smaller scale in works such as "Out of the Blues" and "Amelie," her calligraphy breaks into clearings of deep translucent space. In this way Meyer's multifaceted relationship to the twentieth century avant-garde projects a sense of masterful ease. Her images multiply and divide optical and psychic experiences exponentially.

    OCTOBER 7, 2005
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Melissa Meyer: Recent Paintings:

  • crap   from john, May 18, 2006

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