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, creates 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. “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 recognize the beautiful, delicate moments that appear in the most unexpected places.” 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 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. She was the People’s Choice Award winner for the Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize in 2017 and was a finalist in the same prize in 2020. She has been featured in numerous publications including Art Collector, Art Guide and Artist Profile. 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).