Melissa Meyer “New Paintings”

Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.

poster for Melissa Meyer “New Paintings”
[Image: Melissa Meyer "Getting in Line" (2017) oil on canvas 78 x 80 in.]

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Melissa Meyer’s paintings have an authority born of long experience. They convey the artist’s clear eye and sure hand. Whether large or small, suffused with color or braced with black, these new paintings extend Meyer’s use of oil paint thinned to the translucency of watercolor yet maintaining saturation and radiance. She describes her approach as follows, acknowledging a long-standing interest in collage:

When I’m painting, restrictions are self-imposed, including choices about color, scale, speed of mark, and format. Variation in these approaches allows me to stay true to the threads that connect my work – the visual energy of a collage sensibility and the expressiveness of painting. The way I think about space, layering, abutted gestures, and attributes of color, such as value and intensity of hue, are deeply influenced by the collage actions of cutting, pasting, and arranging in vertical/horizontal formats. This allows me to isolate elements while building a whole, so that a viewer may experience each part of a painting as dynamically as its entirety. While my painting may initially appear to be fast to a viewer because of the speed of the gestures, attention to each of these elements and what they are doing requires a much slower read.

Getting in Line and J. Mulligan, both 78 x 80 inch paintings, seem alike in sharing a patchwork ground of very pale colors under a scaffold of black marks. With the “slower read” Meyer suggests to us, differences in the architecture of the foreground levels become evident. One has a regular rhythm of mostly closed shapes, outlined alternatively with the wide edge of the brush or the thin side; the other features a much less regular, jazzy and antic beat.

The other two large paintings, Summer in the City I, and II, are also a size-matched pair and are also more dissimilar than they appear at first glance. Meyer cites the “built environment” as a visual influence, and these paintings are not the first she has made that convey a sense of the sights and sounds of the city streets, the brightness and high contrast of the full light of summer. One has a relaxed grid system, the other a more tightly compressed abutment of a more diverse character set of gestural marks.
All but one of the smaller works in the exhibition are diptychs, a format Meyer has used to good effect for many years. She is devoted to sketchbooks, and looking at some recent spreads of collaged watercolors, one wonders if the format reinforces her interest in double- panel paintings. Achieving a balance between left and right with a physical break in the center is a challenge she addresses in a variety of ways – most read across the spine with continuity, some less so, and in one instance not one line or shape extends across the middle.
Melissa Meyer’s five solo exhibitions at Lennon, Weinberg have shown the evolution of her paintings over past decade. She is an artist whose work progresses with incremental change rather than abrupt shifts of direction. In her own words:

I strongly identify with the importance of change as a commitment to my visual art and way of working. Through gesture, line, shape- making and color, I have experimented in different scales, formats, materials and approaches, and yet there is a thread that is constant throughout these changes, a particular energy I make visible. My goal is to continue to reinvent myself without severing my connections to Abstract Expressionism, more particularly, to the brushstroke and drawing in paint.

Melissa Meyer was born in New York in 1946 and received both undergraduate and graduate degrees from New York University. Her lengthy exhibition history includes solo exhibitions at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York; Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, Ohio; Holly Solomon Gallery, New York and Galerie Renee Ziegler, Zurich, Switzerland. This is her fifth at Lennon, Weinberg.

Meyer’s development has been surveyed in two traveling exhibitions – one originated at the New York Studio School and the second at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Her works have been included recently in group exhibitions at The Jewish Museum, New York; Texas Gallery, Houston; Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York; the Fiterman Art Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, the National Academy of Design in New York, the Provincetown Art Museum, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, the Palmer Museum in Pennsylvania, and the Indiana University Center for Art and Design.

She has completed public commissions in New York, Tokyo, Shanghai and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Jewish Museum, the McNay Art Museum and many other public and private collections across the United States.

Meyer was awarded a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pollock Krasner Foundation. She is a frequent artist in residence at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York, and worked at the MacDowell Colony for the first time in 2012. She worked in residence at the Bau Institute in Cassis, France, in 2016. She is a member of the National Academy of Art and Design.



from November 01, 2018 to December 22, 2018

Opening Reception on 2018-11-01 from 18:00 to 20:00


Melissa Meyer

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