Melissa Bryant with Exhibit entitled, “Tread Softly”
“I paint quiet moments and places. Collectively, they are my response to my need for silence and reflection in a contemporary culture that is often excessive and loud. The act of painting reminds me to tread softly through life and observe fleeting experiences. When I do, they are ordinary moments that become transformed to significance. They become respites in a complex day.”
Melissa Bryant was born in the Philippines. She immigrated with her family to Vancouver, British Columbia, when she was nine years old. Since making the United States her home, she has lived in different parts of the country. Melissa received a Bachelor of Arts from University of Maryland in Government and Politics/International Studies with a minor in Asian Studies. She subsequently received a second degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in painting. She recently completed a Masters of Fine Arts program at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
We asked Melissa her thoughts on her upcoming show and wanted to find out what inspired her. Here is her response: I have been thinking a great deal on how our unquestioned use of technology can be a relentless obstruction to achieving solitude. We may be distracted from pursuing long periods of quiet and introspective time, which are very important in developing our relationship with ourselves in order for us to know what we truly value. For instance, we are on the phone constantly, even while among friends. Our relationships with others suffer, too. I am interested in life as a meaningful and tangible experience. I remember watching a child feel a breezy spring morning. He reacted to different sounds and looked upwards for a very long time doing nothing more than watching clouds float by and tree tops sway. He raised his arms above his head almost as a salutation and cried out, “Ahhhh!” I felt his delight and awe as he made soft indecipherable conversation with the air. Soon enough, he will be distracted, entertained, and inundated with devices. And so my paintings are inspired by quiet fleeing moments that are easy to miss; moments that can be enjoyed preferably without technological gadgets. They require one to be attentive and present. We can all have such timeless moments that contribute joy and peace to our existence.
How have you expanded existing themes/ideas for which you are best known/or if this body of work is a great deviation from your norm, what inspired this new approach? My work tends to reflect “energized stillness.” One thing that is different about this body of work is that it also includes plein air paintings. Plein air painting is a spiritual experience for me. Being in the midst of nature in one spot for a prolonged period of time, with its sounds, smells, light, and air movements allows me to contemplate patterns, cycles and transcendental ideas. I often associate nature with the sacred as I feel awe and reverence against its vastness and beauty.
Stylistically and/or technically, what do you hope collectors notice in your new work? I tried to find simple forms in many of the paintings. For instance, the shadows my gather into a form.
Add any additional info that you think might interest the viewer? Many of my landscape paintings are inspired by my travels
Georganna Lenssen with Exhibit entitled, ” Birdland”
“Born in Korea, I have been exposed to Asian art all my life. I have always been impressed with its reverence for nature and by the vitality of its direct, spontaneous use of brush and ink. I try to incorporate these qualities in my work and focus upon gesture and movement as they express the essence and vitality of the subject.“
Born in Seoul, Korea, Georganna Lenssen graduated from Villanova University and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Prizes awarded include The Roy Lance Lauffer Memorial Prize and The Elizabeth Arramark Scholarship. Georganna currently teaches painting and drawing at the Wayne Art Center. She is represented by galleries including The Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia and West Branch Gallery in Stowe, VT.
We asked Georganna her thoughts on her upcoming show and wanted to find out what inspired her. Here is her response: I feel painting should be an interactive experience between painter and painting. Rather than simply having an idea and executing it, the painter actively and responsively participates in the process of the painting. With painting one has the opportunity to go inside oneself and tap into a kind of unconscious intelligence. There is magic for me in the beginnings of a painting. While I often start with a plan, I know it is only a point of departure. The paint and the marks will ultimately guide the painting’s path. I start with gestural linear marks and loose sheets of transparent colors. I use a brilliant white ground as the luminosity created by these transparencies is visually so thrilling. I work organically and intuitively. Good and not-so-good things happen, but the the process is always an adventure.
How have you expanded existing themes/ideas for which you are best known/or if this body of work is a great deviation from your norm, what inspired this new approach? A painting is a story for me. Figures move through the canvas and often disappear. Location and content change… the fact that the painting evolves organically and may change into a completely different piece by the time I decide to stop is not a waste of time to me. It is a journey. The painting could not end up as it is without traveling those channels. The viewer need not know this evolution. This evolution is for me. Ambiguity and open-endedness are critical to my work. In a final work, bits and pieces, or tracks from prior versions may remain, evidencing the journey, but I don’t believe the viewer needs to know how the painting realized itself. I think the viewer should approach the painting with his/her own ideas and story.
Stylistically and/or technically, what do you hope collectors notice in your new work? Marks, and mark making are essential to my work. A brush can create not just a stroke, but a whole language of marks. For me, sensuality of brushwork takes precedence over technique. Exploration takes precedence over duplication or replication.