Nov 16, 2023 - Jan 19, 2024
Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art
526 West 26th Street, Suite 508
New York, NY, 10001
Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art is pleased to present Melissa Meyer: Works On Paper. This is Meyer’s first exhibition with the gallery. On view are three distinct body of works; a collection of eleven prints, six watercolors, and two sketchbooks, one of which is unique and presented in its original state.
The exhibition unfolds by offering the viewer a topographical map of East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, through the variety of street names referenced in the titles of the prints–-Scholes, Meserole, Bogart et cetera. This body of work, titled Survey I & Survey II, was conceived during Meyer’s collaboration with the Jo Watanabe Studio in 1992. This led to the artist frequenting the vicinity of East Williamsburg and developing an interest in the street names as she would make her way from the subway station to the Print shop. While Meyer offered description of the area at the time as “bleak,” the print series suggests the opposite in the way Meyer’s color palettes brim with vibrancy of life and the plethora of methods utilized in the making process. The artist did not shy away from experimenting with whatever printing technique was at hand. The result is an emotionally charged assemblage of printed impressions that not only contributes to sustaining Meyer’s abstract expressionist heritage, but also offers a glimpse into the artist personal relationship and history with the ever-changing city of New York, her birthplace.
The viewer is then invited to shift their attention to the six watercolors, conceived in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meyer had been spending time at her brother’s residence in Bedford to get away from the grief-stricken New York City and simultaneously connect with her sibling, whom she had not shared a home with since childhood. During her stay, Meyer was set up with a wooden shed, surrounded by a landscape of lush green nature, which inspired the artist to convert the space into her work studio. As a result, the Bedford Series came about towards the end of her stay. The series is yet another instance that highlights Meyer’s sensitivity to her surroundings and how that becomes translated into brushstrokes and color hues that evoke an extensive emotional vocabulary.
The exhibition also features a unique artist sketchbook, which Meyer completed in 2019-2020. The artist here continues to show her affinity for watercolor, this time bookend by the playful use of paper collage. In retrospect, the inclusion of paper collage seems to pay tribute to the practice of femmage, a neologism combining ‘feminine' and ‘collage’ that Meyer herself had coined alongside Miriam Shapiro in the 1970’s. This sketchbook is accompanied by the regular and deluxe versions of another artist book, titled Sketchbooks 1993-95 and published in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1997.
Altogether, the works serve to consolidate Meyer’s search for meanings through drawing, watercolor, and printmaking–-they have become a canvas upon which the viewer takes an intimate dive into the artist’s vault of memories, emotions, and primordial sensory associations.