The Things We Can’t Say: Mixed Media

Artist Statement

The precursor to my current body of work was my father’s cancer diagnosis in May 2011. I took this into my artwork as a way to record my feelings at the time, and it slowly evolved into a series of work on its own. The creative process turned from an escape to a cathartic experience. Coping with life is part of our existence as humans. It is an emotional process, affecting each individual differently. The concept of “masking” the true self is something that is well known by nearly every human being.

The portraits in these pieces are not meant to represent any specific person or people-group, but rather humanity as a whole. Therefore, the expressions of the faces of these figures are neither threatening nor inviting. They are to be viewed as pensive and introverted; facing the viewer, yet clearly not acknowledging him/her for his or her own thoughts. The patterns I use throughout the picture plane may appear to be familiar to a viewer, but only in the way that they simply mimic the human fingerprint or loop/whorl pattern in which human hair grows. Additionally, the patterning represents the complexities within oneself as anxieties multiply and are internalized. In addition to the patterning, I alter the smooth surface of the pieces with resin and transparent mediums.

My goal with this series of work is to make the hidden external, to depict how swallowed fears and anxieties would appear if made tangible and visible. Though it’s well known that there are plenty of destructive, unhealthy, and dangerous coping strategies associated with emotional turmoil, I tend to think that there is an equal amount of positive experiences that can be gathered. It is these experiences that give us growth of character, a will to live. These are the experiences I hope to convey in my work.

Mellissa Redman holds an MFA in painting from Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University and a BA in painting and drawing from the University of Akron. A native of Akron, OH, Mellissa volunteered her time or artwork to the local YMCA and YWCA, the U. of Akron Ballet Institute, the City of Akron, The Chapel: Akron Campus, and the Akron Children’s Hospital. While living in the Grand Rapids area, Mellissa instructed courses in KCAD’s continuing studies program and was an active member of Avenue for the Arts. In 2016, she moved back to Akron, where she continues her career as a visual artist. Though she works with water-based media, her paintings also include drawing, serigraphy, and collage. Over the last several years she has shown her work in Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Tucson.

Photo by Matt Gubancsik