With a background in anthropology, Melissa Stern's work reflects both non-Western and self-taught art influences. Her drawings, collages, and figurative sculptures are characterized by their richly drawn and deeply layered surfaces, as well their quirky, often dark humor.
The Talking Cure is a synthesis of her interest in words, people and ideas. Collaborating with writers and actors started as an experiment in how people interpret what they see, read and hear. It morphed into an ongoing project that has involved the populations of Akron Ohio, Seattle WA., New York City , Hartford, CT., Charleston SC, and Minneapolis, MN. We are thrilled that is has now arrived in St. Louis, where it will rest for the next six months. Since the start of The Talking Cure in 2012 Stern has continued to explore her interest in memory, language, objects and relationships. She is in the planning stages of her next community based interactive project. See more of Melissa’s work on her web site.
Melissa has worked in both sculpture and drawing for over twenty years, living and exhibiting in California, Europe, and New York City. Her work is featured in a number of prominent corporate and museum collections including News Corp., J P Morgan, Chase The Arkansas Art Center, American Museum of Ceramic Art and the Kohler Corporation, where she was an artist-in-residence. Her artwork was featured in the 3RD, WORLD CERAMICS BIENNALE 2005 Invitational exhibition, Icheon, Korea, The International Center for Collage and The Stavenger Museum in Stavenger Norway. Her one-of-a-kind book NIGHTMARES has been acquired by the Library of Congress.
My brain is inhabited by a universe of people who look a little like you and me but tend to lack a limb or two. They are cheerful, standing tall in the face of absurdity and adversity. They balance delicately both physically and emotionally, seemingly ready to fall, but they never do.
I have long been fascinated by what goes on in people’s minds when they look at art. What stories do they tell themselves? What emotions and memories are triggered? I have made work that deals explicitly with memory, childhood and family, subjects with a strong psychological bent. I’m as interested in what others think the pieces are “saying” as in what has motivated me to make them in the first place.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2017 YOU’RE SOAKING IN IT- Station Independent Projects, NY, NY
WE THE PEOPLE- SERVING NOTICE- The American Museum of Ceramic Art,
2016 THE TALKING CURE , The Weisman Art Museum. Minn. MN
LOOSE LIPS, The Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.
THE TALKING CURE, Redux Contemporary Art Center, Charleston, SC
2015 THE TALKING CURE Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
2014 A YEAR IN PICTURES- SOPA Fina Arts, Kelowna, Canada
THE TALKING CURE- Akron Museum of Art, Akron Ohio.
2012 THE TALKING CURE- Smart Clothes Gallery, NY,NY (Catalogue)
THE TALKING CURE- Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, WA. (Catalogue)
2011 NEW MATH- DRAWINGS- Fetherston Gallery, Seattle, WA.
LIFE DURING WARTIME- HEADS- Barbara Archer Gallery, Atlanta, GA.
NEW SCULPTURE- SOPA Fine Arts, Kelowna, Canada
2009 STEP RIGHT UP – Bahdeebahdu Gallery, Philadelphia PA
COMING UP FOR AIR- Fetherston Gallery, Seattle WA
LOOSE LIPS- Drawing exhibition, Milsaps College, Jackson, MS.
2008 A COMMON SPACE, Barbara Archer Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2007 ABOVE THE BELT, Studioswan, Atlanta, GA
FAMILY VALUES, Gallery 31 North, Glen Gardner, NJ
2006 LOOSE LIPS -Drawing exhibition. Zihlka Gallery, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.
BIRDLAND, David Lusk Gallery, Memphis, TN.
2005 FAMILY VALUES, WeissPollack Gallery, NY, NY
2003 VACATION, Spike Gallery, NY, NY
MY FRIENDS, David Lusk Gallery, Memphis, TN.
2002 Back To School, The Children's Museum of the Arts, NY, NY (Catalogue)
2001 Ballard Featherston Gallery, Seattle, WA
THIRD GRADE, John Elder Gallery, NY, NY
2000 Bachelier-Cardonsky, Kent, CT
1999 WAX WORKS, David Lusk Gallery, Memphis, TN
1997 DRAWINGS - Mia Gallery, Seattle, WA
1996 Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery, Kent, CT
1995 Mia Gallery, Seattle WA
1994 Diana Burke Gallery, NY, NY
1993 Mia Gallery, Seattle, WA
1990 Art Rages, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1988 Primitivo Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1986 HOMESITES, Arts Council of San Mateo County, Belmont, CA
CHAIRS, Clodagh, Ross, Williams Gallery, NY, NY
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2016 TALK TALK- Central Booking Gallery. NY, NY
2016 COGNITIVE DISSONANCE- Spartanburg Museum of Art, Saprtanburg, S.C.
2015 MONEY, WHEELS AND RANDOM LEGS.- Firecat Projects, Chicago, Ill
2014 PSYCHED- Central Booking Gallery, NY, NY
COMPULSIVE NARRATIVES- Rutgers Univ. Camden, NJ
2013 GALLERY ARTISTS- Archangel Gallery, Palm Springs, CA.
2011 NAMING THE ANIMALS- Curious Matter, Jersey City, NJ
RETROFUTUREOLOGY- Observatory, Brooklyn NY
2010 PARADISO CONTRAPASTO – Observatory, Brooklyn, NY
PILLOW CULTURE – Dumbo Arts Festival, Brooklyn, NY
2009 THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT- Arthouse, Atlanta, GA - National traveling exhibition
2008 CONFRONTATIONAL CERAMICS, curated by Judith Schwartz, Westchester Arts Council, Westchester, NY
2007 FORMS OF OPULENCE- Allen Gallery. New York, NY
HAVE A SEAT! – Beylerian Collection of Small Chairs June 28 – October 28, The Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
RED - Curated by Richard Notkin. Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD
THE INNER CHILD- The Hunterdon Museum of Art, Hunterdon, NJ
2006 FIGURATIONS Sopa Gallery, Kelona, BC, Canada
MOTHERHOOD: THE MYTH, THE MAGIC, THE MADNESS”- curated
By Leslie Matthews. Design for Living Gallery, Phila. PA.
2005 "NEW TALENT 2005", Co-curated by the Museum of Ceramic Art New
York (MOCA/NY) and WEISSPOLLACK Gallery. NY, NY
3RD WORLD CERAMICS BIENNALE 2005, Ceramics: The Vehicle of Culture,
Invitational exhibition, Icheon, Korea (Catalogue)
2004 PULP FICTION, bahdu bahdee, Phila. PA
2003 ENCAUSTIC 2003, juried exhibition, Poughkeepsie, NY (Catalogue)
2002 PUSHING CLAY, Univ of Southern Maine. Portland, Maine
2001 R&F ENCAUSTICS JURIED BIENNIAL - Kingston, NY (Catalogue)
1998 NEW TALENT, John Elder Gallery, NY, NY
1996 INTIMATE CONVERSATIONS, The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA
1995 NEW YORK CLAY - Traveling exhibition, Stavanger, Norway (Catalogue)
1994 VIEWPOINTS, Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery, Kent, CT
NEW GENERATION, Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
1993 HEADS OR TAILS - Mia Gallery, Seattle, WA
1992 CHAIRS, Gallery of Functional Art, Santa Monica, CA
FIGURATIVE CERAMICS, Mia Gallery, Seattle, WA
1991 AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE, Gallery of Functional Art, Santa Monica, CA
1990 SIGNS OF SUPPORT - FURNITURE FORMS IN CONTEMPORARY ART
John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI
1988 ARTIST'S FURNITURE INVITATIONAL, Wita Gardiner Gallery, San Diego, CA
THE AESTHETIC EDGE, Corvalis Art Center, Corvallis, OR
IMAGINARY LANDSCAPES, Primitivo Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1987 VIEWING THE FIGURE, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
1986 INAUGURAL EXHIBITION, Clodagh, Ross, Williams Gallery, NY, NY
1984 INTROSPECTIVES - AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL WORK BY WOMEN - Pyramid Art Center, Rochester, NY
1983 THE AMERICAN CLAY NATIONAL, Downey Museum of Art, Downey, CA
TALKING CURE, TALKING HEADS- Minnesota Daily, Sept 7, 2016
MELISSA STERN’S “THE TALKING CURE’, South Carolina Public Radio, by Jeanette Guinn, June 21, 2016
REDUX'S CURRENT EXHIBITION "THE TALKING CURE IS MULTIFACTED. Charleston City Paper by Connelly Hardeway July 15, 2016
THE TALKING CURE AT REDUX CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER. Arts Daily, May 2016
THE TALKING CURE-12 SCULPTURES, 12 WRITERS, 12 ACTORS- Charleston Art Mag, by Marjorie Rawle, May 2016
MONEY, WHEELS AND RANDOM LEGS- The Chicago Tribune Oct. 15, 2015
SCULPTOR INVITES WRITERS TO TELL THE STORIES OF HER WORKS AT REAL ART WAYS-
The Hartford Courant review, March 5, 2015
DON’T MISS- FIGURES OF SPEECH The Wall Street Journal. May 30, 2014
"MELISSA STERN- OFF BALANCE ART"- Feature article. Wesleyan University Alumni Magazine.
ARTnews- review of The Talking Cure exhibition. Jan 2013
NEW YORK ARTS - Interview with Leah Oates, The Talking Cure Feb. 2013
THE TALKING CURE- catalogue of the exhibition 2012
ART FOR THE EYES AND EARS: MELISSA STERN'S "THE TALKING CURE" IN NEW YORK,
Dujour.com. December, 2012
NEW YORK ARTS - Nostalgic Confessions- Drawing by Melissa Stern February 2009
AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION 26 – The Best American Illustrations of 2007, November 2007
Review of BIRDLAND- The Memphis Commercial Appeal, Friday April 21, 2006
BIRDLAND- Catalogue pub. in conjunction with the exhibition. David Lusk Gallery, Memphis, TN 2006
CLAY IN ART INTERNATIONAL- 2006. pub. by kerameiki techni. Athens, Greece
TRANS-CERAMIC-ART – Catalogue of The 3rd World Ceramic Biennale 2005.
Published by Icheon World Ceramic Center, Icheon, Korea 2005
500 FIGURES IN CLAY - by Veronika Gunter. Lark Books, Ashville, NC 2004
BACK TO SCHOOL- catalogue essay by Paul Karlstrom. Published by The Children's
Museum of the Arts NY, NY, Winter 2003
CERAMIC FIGURES - by Michael Flynn, Rutgers Univ. Press - New Jersey 2002
FORM & TRANS-FORMATIONS - by Judith Schwartz, catalogue. Queens, NY 1997
NEW YORK CLAY - essay by Judith Schwartz, exhibition catalogue, Rogaland
Kunstnersenter, Rogaland, Norway 1996
THE NEW YORK TIMES - Review - Sunday, Dec. 15, 1996
CHAIRMANIA - FANTASTIC MINIATURES by George Beylarian, Harry Abrams pub.
New York, NY - 1994
DAN'S PAPER - Review - Bridgehampton, NY - May 20, 1994
EAST HAMPTON INDEPENDENT - Review - May 22, 1994
THE NEW YORK TIMES - Review - Sunday, August 2, 1992
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ART CRAFT - A COLLECTOR'S GUIDE –
Barbara Mayer, Peregrine Smith Books - Salt Lake City, UT - 1988
PRONTO - Cover photograph and article. Vol. 4 #5 – Tokyo, Japan - 1988
ARS AUREA – Magazine article Berlin, Germany - winter 1988
AWARDED ARTIST RESIDENCY- Benyamini Cneter For Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Israel 2014
AWARDED ARTIST RESIDENCY, The Washington School of Glass, Washington DC 2011
Awarded Artist Residency, The Serenbe Institute, Serenbe GA, 2007
2001-SPONSORS AWARD R&F Handmade Paint Juried Exhibition
1988 AND 1990 KOHLER FOUNDATION GRANT - Artist-in-Residence Kohler Company, S Sheboygan, WI
SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
International Center for Collage, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
Library of Congress- Rare Books and Special Collections
Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
The Arario Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Bear Stearns & Co. New York, NY
News Corp Inc, New York, NY
Davison Collection, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
The Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, A
Stavenger Museum, Stavenger Norway
The Metropolitan Home Magazine Design Collection, New York, NY
The Kohler Company Collection, Sheboygan, WI
Designtex, New York, NY
1976-1980 BA Anthropology and Studio Art Cum Laude with Honors in Anthropology Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut
1982-1984 MFA Ceramics State University of New York at New Paltz