by Stuart Elster
"The Floor Drawing” is not meant to fill the emptiness created by the removed Patio. The void exists, and I believe Melissa has no intention of trying to fill it. The “Floor Drawing,” then, is just one element making up a complex set of parts that constitute the artwork as a whole. And the “Drawing as an artwork” is now in process. I am not talking about planning and organizing, preparation or practice. I mean that the artwork at this moment in time and space is in the process of becoming. In fact, it is very much underway and moving quickly to completion. All artworks are built of structures. The nonexistent “Floor Drawing” exists in its absence equally to how the void characterizes the form of the Castle. The future marks that Melissa will make across the floor’s surface will not fill that void, she will be “Drawing into it”. Conventional mark-making is only one definition of Drawing, as an act of marking a surface with a tool. Another definition is “Drawing out” as a form of extracting, conjuring or teasing elements from one context to create another. There is also “Drawing” as a way of choosing from a set of unknown or random options.
Melissa is employing all of these aspects of “Drawing” in creating an Artwork which is meant to activate for the viewer all of the cultural, historical and individual content into a synthetic whole. Emptiness is the idea as the void becomes the only space available to contain the complexity that Melissa is “Drawing into and out of”. The title Double Self Split is a factual description for the functioning of the artwork. Bringing together Doubling and Splitting, Front and Back, Mirror and Void, Up and down, (including Earth and Sky, Heaven and Hell), Temporal and Spatial, Self and Other, and using Melissa’s own terms, Soul and Skin. So the idea of abstraction, and I am talking about abstraction in the fullest sense, including, but in no way limiting, its use in the visual arts, becomes central toDouble Self Split specifically, but is also at the core of Melissa’s work as an artist. The dramatic narratives that are being performed in Melissa’s artworks are built upon these dualities. Her pictorial references trace back through the same exact cultural histories as the architectural spaces she is working with. From the Renaissance in Europe through the exportation of Enlightenment Philosophy into the Americas. America’s post-war cultural dominance developed through Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, specifically, and to whatever present state we are living in now! Melissa’s Drawings engage these histories through oppositions and reflections. In Double Self Split she is entering the void, not with stillness, but through action and speed. The black and white drawing remains incomplete, waiting to be colored. Her Floor Drawing will be the size of a European fresco but will remain a cartoon, made of ink not plaster. Complete in its state of Incompletion.