2 - 19 November 2017
about the exhibition
Melinda Schawel is a painter and printmaker who has always been drawn to the physicality of the creative process. She is known for her unique approach to working with paper, embracing the enduring versatility and unpredictability of the medium to create interplays of texture, colour and form. Inspired by phenomena occurring within the natural world, her works can also be seen as a meditation on the nature of paper itself. Using a variety of tools, Melinda often tears the surface of the paper while building up the composition with drawing, inking, painting, stamping, drilling, erasing and perforating; “Regardless of the medium, the physicality of the process is extremely cathartic and allows me time to process some of the harsh realities of life but also more importantly to recognise the beautiful, delicate moments that appear in the most unexpected places.” This recent series is inspired by a snorkelling trip to the Whitsundays and her discovery of “bommies”, shallow outcrops of colourful reefs. The contrast between the destruction and then vibrant regrowth upon these coral boulders after the devastation of Cyclone Debbie resonated with Melinda and reflect in her recent compositions. Multiplying forms seemingly unfold into the stark areas of white paper providing a sense of anticipation of the growth to come. For Melinda, the experience of observing the natural world rebound after such natural destruction provides solace “when current (human made) events feel much more random & unpredictable”.
Born in Illinois, USA, Melinda Schawel received a Bachelor in Fine Art and Communication from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1993 and a Postgraduate Degree in Printmaking from RMIT, Melbourne in 1996. She has undertaken a variety of residencies over the years, most recently at the Art Vault in Mildura and Chiang Mai Art on Paper workshop in Thailand. This year she was a finalist in both the Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize (People’s Choice Award) and Whyalla Art prize as well as being featured in the Art Collector Magazine and being a guest on the Arts Show Podcast. Melinda has exhibited regularly since 1995 and her work is represented in numerous collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Artbank and the Royal Museum of Fine Art (Antwerp, Belgium). This is Melinda’s first solo exhibition with Beaver Galleries.