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MELISSA FURNESS
 
Sacrifice
Painting Installation 2010 84in(H) x 114in(L) as installed; painting alone 60in(H) x 84in(L)

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

I am interested in the idea of “travel” in many senses of the word--of our attraction to the unknown, the fragmentary, the imperfect, and the incomplete, and conversely our attraction to beauty and the nature of the sublime in the face of today’s society. All are quite foreign to us. Over time, what was once resolutely clear has become unknown or buried beneath years of mistranslations, recombinations, and over or under exaggerations.

In my work, I utilize the suggested remains of physical, tangible forms in historical artifacts and ruins, which exist but are incomplete in order to build an alternate world that appears to exist but does not. It is interesting today how we flock to ruins of past ages to consider our identity in relation to time. In this way, we consider life in relation to death and work to draw the line of life back in connecting ourselves to the earth. There are roots and routes that can be drawn, documenting both our line of travel from place to place, but also our line from present to past existence. These lines move in patterns as we rise up and out of the landscape and back down again to become one with it. It is as though we are leaping ever towards some unknown, a progressive distancing from origin. This distancing is a fantasy realm of invented and imagined spaces that have only partial basis in the real.

Today people travel in many different ways and for many different reasons. We create our own reality by going to a different place, working to find a new sense of self and security in a new place. We may travel to an actual place, but our eyes and minds build this place into a fantasy realm as we imagine the unknown that we experience. We also travel virtually and take on the alternative identity of an avatar to become a “foreign body” which can morph in various ways as one moves from site to site. Through travel, we become a hybrid of ourselves and part of an artificial or imagined reality that we feel connected to. The ruin becomes a metaphor for this hybrid reality. It is real, but fragmented, open to interpretation of what it “might have been” and symbolic of a new kind of overpowering external vastness.

This concept of an alternative sublime reality can be seen throughout my work in painting through a complex layering of space. Patterns are printed in an underlying rhythm of color and transparency, a suggestion of the “supersensible substrate” underlying nature. Kant states that “the Judgment makes possible the transition from the realm of the concept of nature to that of the concept of freedom.” Today, the sense of the sublime in nature still exists, but is mis- or re-interpreted by the multitude of contemporary media and technology. Media space becomes a part of this new sublime with its own substrate creating a base for hyper-realities. Today this past and present collide to form a new sense of judgment and restrained freedom.

In my work, the reality of the ruin is digitally morphed, recombined, and then transposed onto the surface to form a suggested space. A lone figure or two floats over an environment that is both expansive and emotionally weighted. Lines and cords form lyrical movement and a suggested dialog of histories clashing. Shapes of light and abstraction are instances of transference. There is an overall sense of the internal fantasy melded with an external reality. The result is a view of reinvented histories, of fantastically completed fragments brought together into an idealized world that is part natural and part fabrication. There is a flow from reality into fantasy, expressing a contemporary understanding of life today lived amongst the ruins of the near and distant past. The two come together into a physical otherness of altered identity, place, and time.

 

RESUME

www.melissafurness.com
melissajfurness@yahoo.com

SOLO, TWO & THREE PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2011 Trans-formations, Solo Exhibition, Plus Gallery, Denver, Colorado.
Cessation, Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, Colorado
Current works, Beacons Creative Community Space, Denver, Colorado

2010 Fragments: West+World, Santa Reparata International School of Art, Florence, Italy

2009 Aberration-site, Solo Exhibition, CoLAB Projects, New Orleans, Louisiana
Art Alumni Exhibition, Eaton-Buchanon Gallery, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Brave New World, Plus Gallery, Denver, Colorado

2006 Recent Work, Kittredge Art Gallery, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington
Water-cast, Solo Exhibition, Ballard Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, Washington
Treading Water, Solo Exhibition, Kolva-Sullivan Gallery, Spokane, Washington

2004 Chlorine Beach, LoRiver Arts Gallery, Beacon, New York

2003 Water-borne, Solo Exhibition, Fish Tank Gallery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
Winners of CAW’s 2002 National Juried Exhibition, Creative Arts Workshop, New
Haven, Connecticut

2001 Backyard Beja'rat, Ferencsik Janos Zeneiskola, Balatonfured, Hungary

2000 Science Fair in the Museum of Art, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, Iowa

1999 Birthrights, Residency Exhibition, Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, California

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2011 Generations 8, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, New York.
A Feminine Contemporary Sublime, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, New York.
Gallery Artists’ Fall Exhibit, Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, Washington.

2010 International Painting Exhibition, Lessedra Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria.
with/drawn: contemporary international drawing exhibition, The Drawing Room HU,
Budapest, Hungary.
Works on Paper, Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, Washington.

2009 New American Paintings, 15 Year Anniversary Edition, Open Studios Press, Wellesley,
Massachusetts.

International Drawing Annual 4, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing
Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Spring Group Exhibition, Andrews Art Museum, Andrews, North Carolina.
Regina di Cuori, Primo Piano LivinGallery: Contemporary Art, Lecce, Italy.
Nature Mutations, Primo Piano LivinGallery: Contemporary Art, Lecce, Italy.
New Beginnings, Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, Washington.

2008 Creative Quarterly: The Journal of Art and Design, issue #13, 3x3 Publishing, New York,
New York.
New American Paintings, Western Edition #78, Open Studios Press,
Wellesley,Massachusetts.
Artists Wanted LLC, featured artist, http://www.artistswanted.org/featured.html,
Brooklyn, New York.
Perfect with Pixel, Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery, BGSU, Bowling Green, Ohio.
BIG SHOW, Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, Washington.

2007 Small Rays of Hope and Fragments of a Larger Idea, Rhonda Schaller Studio, New York,
New York.
Kunst 2007, International Art Fair, Zurich, Switzerland.
Art Cologne, Palma de Mallorca, International Art Fair, Cologne, Germany.
Dreamscapes, Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland.
Kiaf 2007 – 6th Korea International Art Fair, Seoul, Korea.

SELECTED – CONTINUED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2006 Signals from/about- Central Europe II: Selected Works from the Balatonfüred/Csopak
International Artists
Residencies 1996-2006, Keki Gallery, Budapest, Hungary.
UnAmbiguous, ArtWorld Digest, exhibition in print, Brooklyn, New York.

2005 New American Paintings, Edition #61, Open Studios Press, Wellesley, Massachusetts. Intelligent Distribution: 10 Artists Respond to Technology, Sonoma State University,
Rohnert Park, CA.
Summer Salon Show 2005, Ballard Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, Washington.
Winter Salon Show, LoRiver Arts Gallery, Beacon, New York.

2004 Blue Waters, Ballard Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, Washington.
Muvészek Amerikából és Európából, Vizivarosi Gallery, Budapest, Hungary.
Aswoon Design and Art in the Yard, Open Studios, Susan Woods Studio, The Brooklyn
Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York.

2002 Iowa Artists 2002, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa.
Matter as Protagonist: A National Juried Exhibition, Creative Arts Workshop, New
Haven, Connecticut, Juror: Jessica Stockholder.
Midwest Ticket, Gallery 119, Chicago, Illinois.
MFA Exhibition 2002, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, Iowa.

2001 11 International Artists, residency traveling exhibition, Hungarian Multicultural Center
Ferencsik Janos
Zeneiskola, 2001, City Hall, 2001-02, Balatonfured, Hungary.
Bi-State Biennial Art Exhibition, Davenport Museum of Art, Davenport, Iowa.

RESIDENCIES

2004 Laznia (Bathhouse) Center of Contemporary Art, two months, Gdansk, Poland.
2003 Yaddo, The Corporation of, five weeks, Saratoga Springs, New York.
2001 Hungarian Multicultural Center, one month, Balatonfured, Hungary.
1998 Kala Art Institute, seven months, Berkely, California.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2011 Young, Quentin. “A show for the eyes and mind”, Longmont Times-Call, (2011):
11 pars., 21 Jan. 2011 < http://www.timescall.com/print.asp?ID=24993>.

Isaac, Eric and Michael Keen. “Melissa Furness.” Untitled Art Show (no. 103). 2 Feb.
2011. The Colorado Property Management Group, Denver’s Art District on Santa
Fe, Studio 6 Coffee House, and Gallery Cuvée. 3 Feb. 2011.
2009 Open Studios Press. New American Paintings: 15 Year Anniversary Edition, Wellesley,
MA, Dec, 2009.
Manifest Creative Research Gallery. International Drawing Annual 4, Cincinnati, OH,
Sept, 2009.
Sacqueguena, Dores. “Regina di Cuori”, exhibition catalogue, Lecce, Italy: Primo Piano
LivinGallery: Arte Contemporanea, 2009.
Petroni, Marco. “’Regina di cuori’, creativitá al femminile”, la Repubblica, Lecce, Italy,
April 9, 2009, Arte, bari XVIII.
Sacqueguena, Dores. “Nature Mutations”, exhibition catalogue, Lecce, Italy: Primo
Piano LivinGallery: Arte Contemporanea, 2009.
DelVecchio, Alessandra. “Le nuove facce della natura”, Qui Salento, Lecce, Italy, March,
2009, page 60.

2008 Kumar, Shaurya. “Perfect with Pixel”, exhibition catalogue, Bowling Green, Ohio:
BGSU, 2008.
3x3 Publishing. Creative Quarterly: The Journal of Art and Design, Issue #13,
New York, NY, Dec, 2008.
Open Studios Press. New American Paintings: Western Ed. #78, Wellesley,
Massachusetts, October, 2008.

2006 Cohen, David, ed. “unAmbiguous”, ArtWorld Digest, Brooklyn, New York, March 2006.

2005 Lombardi, Dominick. “REVEIWS; Dreaming Big: Artistic Visions for the County,” The
New York Times, February 27, 2005.
Open Studios Press. New American Paintings: West Coast Edition #61, Wellesley, MA,
December 2005.

2004 Edwards, Nicole. “Water weaves through theme of joint exhibition,” Poughkeepsie
Journal, Beacon, New York, July 9, 2004.

2003 Engelson, Andrew. “Visual Arts Pick: Northwest Annual,” Seattle Weekly, Seattle, WA,
Oct 22, 2003.
Birke, Judy. “Inside a Complicated World, Trying to Navigate,” New Haven Register,
New Haven, Connecticut, March 16, 2003. ARTS section, page E1 and E5.

2002 Worthen, Amy N., Intro. Iowa Artists 2002, Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Art Center,
2002.
Zimmer, William. “ART; When Humble Materials Interact,” The New York Times,
June 9, 2002.
Birke, Judy. “‘Matter as Protagonist,’ or not, at the Creative Arts Workshop,” New
Haven Register, New Haven, Connecticut, June 23, 2002. ARTS section, page E1
and E7.

EDUCATION

2002 MFA, Major: Painting [with Honors], Minor: Sculpture, University of Iowa, Iowa City.