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Melissa Webb

Melissa Webb is a fiber artist, educator, and independent curator working in the areas of site-specific installation, video, performance, and photography. She holds an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Over her nearly 30-year career, Melissa has presented her work at numerous arts institutions, galleries, and festivals such as the Cranbrook Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, School 33 Art Center, Vis-Arts Rockville, ‘sindikit projects, the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) Baltimore, The Rotating History Project, Maryland Art Place, and with the Detroit Month of Design, Philadelphia Fringe, Transmodern, and Artscape Festivals.

 

Melissa maintains a practice of mounting immersive, site-responsive installation works in historically significant architectural spaces. Ambitious in scale as well as detail, her work has engaged diverse audiences in places such as the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House in Michigan, the Stanford White-designed Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in Baltimore, and at Clermont Farm, a former 1755 slave plantation owned by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Residencies include ACRE in Wisconsin, Oxbow in Saugatuck, Michigan, and Prairie Ronde in Vicksburg, Michigan. She has been the recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Grant, a Cranbrook Academy of Art Director’s Fellowship, a Baker Foundation project grant, and a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Sculpture. Melissa is from Baltimore, Maryland, and currently resides in Metro Detroit.

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My work is multi-disciplinary, traversing the terrains of contemporary fiber, installation, photography, and video. Layering accumulations of handmade textiles and textures, I pair traditional processes such as crochet, immersion dyeing, and surface embellishment with video and large-scale projection. 

 

Physically immersive, site-responsive, and research-driven, my work acknowledges the historical contexts and material narratives of architectural spaces. I layer digital imagery, sound, and textile within a chosen space, creating immersive scenarios that viewers may enter and physically inhabit. I disseminate my visual perspective of settings both natural and industrial, translating a feeling of direct experience to the viewer.

I archive, dissect, and re-contextualize handmade objects that mimic natural forms and hold untold stories of care. This work engages with deceased and often unknown makers through emotionally charged objects created to saturate, obscure, and soften the hard angles and surfaces of the domestic space. My work teases through constructs of beauty, vitality, and the sublime, looking to romanticized tropes of utopian and dystopian landscapes to imagine a less human-centered future where we learn to thrive in symbiosis with the natural world. As a maker, I want to engage, however abstractly, in a revisualization of human trajectory—a counter to the specter of infinitely accelerating industrial growth and subsequent environmental collapse...and an optimistic projection of a reclamation of the earth by wildness.

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