Using art to create a protective shell: Artist Spotlight on Nina Meledandri

Artist Bio: Nina Meledandri, a native New Yorker, is a painter and a photographer living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. As a painter she has shown extensively throughout the NY area and was represented by the David Findlay Gallery in NY where she had 2 solo shows. As a photographer she has been published by the NY Times Magazine, Architectural Digest, New York Magazine and the Village Voice among others. The cornerstone of Meledandri’s process both as a painter and a photographer is daily practice.

As a painter it takes the form of daily watercolors that she has been making since 1996. As a photographer she has posted to a minimum of 3 blogs each day for over 15 years. Meledandri recently began making paper which she uses as a foundation for mixed media work. This body of work is strongly rooted in her love of the natural world.

Every artist has the desire to make something never before seen, to connect to truth in a unique way, to create the undeniable. Whether painting, working with mixed media or taking pictures, Jungian philosophy is at the core of my process. The principles of synchronicity and the collective unconscious have fostered my AbEx approach to painting, informed the experiential in my photographs and fueled trust in the exploration of materials. As an artist working across media, my expression often takes the form of diptychs. I find the psychological (and often subliminal) space created between paired images to be a powerfully evocative, though sometimes unsettling stimulus for probing uncharted territory. This is a space where I believe truths exist, truths which can be coaxed into consciousness, exposing moments of undeniable clarity.

It is my primary intent, regardless of media, to provide the viewer access to an interior, recognizable place, be it a reminder of the familiar or the discovery of the previously unknown. To this end my language relies on that which is primal to all humans, forms which exist in the natural world we share. As a painter this often means symbols: eggs, pods, spirals, as a photographer I intimately explore flowers in all their stages and with mixed media I incorporate resonant organic matter into the paper itself. Weaving though all my work is a love of color and it’s power to evoke deeply resonant and emotive responses in the viewer.

What does “Gaze” mean to you & how do you connect it to your work?

The gaze objectifie and becaus it focuses on only the exterio it stimulates a nee for a shell The gaze judge and becaus it is born of preconceived ideals it does not allo for discovery The gaze alienates
and because it does not identify “with” it eschews the opportunity for connection The gaze rests in assumed superiority and because it creates an uneven playing field it makes for a combative environment

I have traditionally used dolls and mannequins in my work as representations of the protective shell that can be one response to “the gaze”. More recently, a sort of defiant & glorious anger has replaced the plastic aloofness I have often relied on to represent its effect on me.

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