Melissa Webb is a fiber artist working in the areas of site-specific and participatory installation, performance, garment, photography, and video. She recieved a degree in Fiber art from The Maryland Institute, College of Art in 1996, and is currently earning her MFA in Fiber at Cranbrook Academy of Art. In addition to working as a solo artist, she has engaged collaboratively with other artists and performers, creating live performances, public interventions and spectacles, as well as two independent films. She is a three-time Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize semi-finalist and the recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Artistic Innovation and Collaboration grant.
Melissa's installation and performance efforts have been featured at venues such as 'sindikit Projects, Vis-Arts Rockville, School 33 Art Center, Maryland Art Place, The Maryland Institute, College of Art, Gallery Imperato, The Creative Alliance, The 14 Karat Kabaret, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Baltimore Theatre Project, and at art festivals such as Transmodern, The Philadelphia Fringe, and Artscape. Melissa served as Curator and Director of Exhibitions for School 33 Art Center from 2014-2019, and as an adjunct professor with the Fiber department at MICA from 2010-2018, with a focus upon garment and performance-based curriculum.
My work is multi-disciplinary, bridging the pursuits of textile, installation, and photography. Utilizing an intuitive and responsive process of making, I am motivated by the identities of materials, people, and space. Detailed, immersive scenarios emerge, wherein participants are encouraged to react and improvise, resulting in the creation of material residues and images. Layering accumulations of handmade and manipulated textiles in a multitude of vivid colors and textures, I covet, collect, and combine structural and pliable materials, incorporating traditional fiber processes such as immersion dyeing, crochet, and surface embellishment.
I am interested in exploring the tension between the utopian and the dystopian with respect to nature and the environment, human re-engineering of the natural world and of our own bodies, and the struggle of humankind to cope with and understand our relationship to history and mortality. In the face of deteriorating environmental and societal stability, this work imagines a future where humankind and the natural world learn new ways to thrive in symbiosis.