13 – 30 August 2020
about the exhibition
Melinda Schawel is an artist who has always been drawn to the physicality of the creative process. Known predominantly for her highly textured works on paper, Melinda captures the grandeur and minutiae of the natural world in her abstracted compositions. Micro and macro details emerge from the paper through her intense manipulation of the base material, often a thick and heavy paper, using a myriad of techniques. Drilling, tearing, scoring and perforating, in combination with inks and fluid acrylic, create interplays between colour, form and texture. Melinda has recently been exploring metal, continuing to develop the push-pull tension within her work but in a more three-dimensional realm. This exhibition presents new work completed during the artist’s time in forced isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The uncertainty of this time caused Melinda to feel as though the world was unravelling before her eyes. In this heightened state, she found solace in her garden, taking the time to observe the details within nature and the changing seasons. “My anxiety was eventually replaced by a renewed sense of clarity and purpose that, ironically, only an extended period of quiet reflection could have led to.” As independent arts writer and curator Marguerite Brown writes, “Schawel’s forms hover on the surface, occasionally collide into one another, and act in dynamic tandem. ….From aqueous stains to areas of hard-edged mineral density, the artist adapts her methods of application in search of a visual equilibrium within each image, and notes the importance of knowing when to hold back. This awareness translates in the successful and subtle evocation of atmospheric space.”
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 was recently commissioned by the City of Casey (Vic) to create a large-scale, integrated public art project, and has been a finalist in numerous art prizes including the Nillumbik Prize, Fisher’s Ghost Art Award and Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize (People’s Choice Award Winner in 2017). She has been featured in a variety of art publications including Art Collector, Art Guide and Artist Profile. Melinda has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1995 and her work is represented in many collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the City of Whitehorse (Vic) and Geelong Regional Gallery (Vic).