Melissa Smedley...Artist at large.... About Melissa Resume/Reviews/Exhibitions

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Knots in Bronze–for the The Wharf at Point Loma : San Diego, Port District. Installation January 2009
Department of Homeland inspiration – A collective video performance, CSUMB Department of Visual and Public Art, September 2007
The Leaf
: a conversation in bronze, May 2005.  Ellis Atrium,  Sonoma , California.

Equipment Field, a series of seven sculptures installed at Denver Broncos “Invesco Field” Stadium, August 2001, collaborators: Mathieu Gregoire, Ante Marinovic

Exhibitions |Top
New  Acquisitions – “The Book of Lies”, The Atheneum, La Jolla, California, March 2005
Inventing Agriculture - concurrent exhibition at Art Produce, and Hybrid Gallery San Diego,CA
Installation and performative sculptures, June - September 02.I-5 Resurfacing - Four Decades of California Contemporary Art - San Diego Museum of Art Video (samples), April 2002
Body Broadcasting, Installation and objects, Spruce Street Forum, San Diego, CA 12/01-1/02
Off Broadway, (group) Museum of Contemporary Art, Downtown, San Diego, CA, February 2000
Paratools, (solo) Mesa College Art Gallery, San Diego, CA January 2000
The Antenna Collection, (group)“Affinities and Collections”, California Center for the Arts Museum, Escondido, Feb. 1998
White Knuckles - Auto Show: steering wheel cover for group installation in automobile, Stockholm, Sweden 8/30/97
Scales - (collaboration) with Nanette Yannuzzi Macias, Grossmont College, San Diego, CA, August 1997
Rites and Rituals - (group) video: “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral”, SPACES, Cleveland, Ohio, June 1997
Now you see it - (group), video: “Practicing for the Millennium”, E.S. Vandam, New York, Nov. 1995
Water Table - (solo) Installation and video, Franklin Furnace Emerging Artist Grant, NYC, June 1995
Campsite - Outdoor installation/video for “California: in Three Dimensions”, California Center for The Arts Museum, Escondido, May 1995
Animal Vegetable Mineral: Comida para su sombrero- Installation and yearlong collaboration with Nanette Yannuzzi Macias for Insite '94 - El Sótano, Tijuana, B.C. Mexico, and The San Diego Museum of Natural history, September 1994
Washi Field Transmitter - Installation made of paper in a rice field, Awa Yamakawa-cho, Japan,
Collaboration with Jeffrey Lindenthal, August 1993
Mother of Seizures - A series of sculptures and performances for the video, Zero Degrees Latitude,
by Steve Fagin. (Commissioned by WGBH Boston’s New Television Series), December 1992
Scenic Overlook - Installation (two artists), InSite ‘92 - Installation Gallery, San Diego, October 1992
Appliances - Installation with video (solo), Boehm Gallery, Palomar College, San Marcos, March 1992

Bibliography | Top
Adjusting the View by Robert Pincus, “The San Diego Union Tribune”, December 27, 2001
Special Team: Local artists score big with sculpture at Denver stadium, by Robert Pincus , “The San Diego Union Tribune”, June 25, 2001
Contemporary Quirkiness. ‘Off Broadway’ is broad enough to get to know the artists , by Robert Pincus “The San Diego Union Tribune”, February 24, 2000
Pink Fuzzy slippers by the Pedals, by Jessica Kempe: Review of Auto-Show, 8/97 in Dagen’s Nyheter (Sweden’s largest daily paper)

Reviews |Top
New York, by Faye Hirsch “Art Forum International”, October 1995
Pilgrims & Pop Pioneers, “New Observations” #108 September/October
That Very Human Enterprise, by Leah Ollman “Los Angeles Times”, June 3, 1995
Installation Gallery, Insite '94 catalog, September 1995
California Center for the Arts Museum, California in Three Dimensions, catalog, , May 1995
Zany Magic, by Ann Jarmusch “The San Diego Union Tribune”, 10/9/94
Artists who Cross Metaphoric Borders, by Neil Kendricks “Artweek”, 10/94
Washi Field Transmitter , “The Asahi Shimbun” Tokyo, Japan 8/21/93
Power Without Resolution, by Leah Ollman, “Los Angeles Times” 10/12/92
Three Wry Efforts by San Diego Artists by Victoria Reed “Los Angeles Times”, 3/25/92

Collections | Top
The David Copley Library, La Jolla California
The Athenaeum, Fine Art and Music Library, La Jolla,CA, - “FOUR”
Stanford University Library, Special Collections, Palo Alto, CA, - “FOUR”
University of California, San Diego, Special collections - “FOUR”
Printed Matter - Artist’s bookstore/ gallery, NYC, “Everybody’s Antenna Handbook”, 8/98
Franklin Furnace Archive: “Everybody’s Antenna Handbook”, 5/98
Oberlin College Department of Art: “Appliances”, “Practicing for the Millennium”, video, 1/97
Indiana University Department of Art: “Appliances”, “Practicing for the Millennium” video, 10/96
California Center for the Arts, Escondido: “Practicing for the Millennium”, video, 5/95

Teaching Experience
| Top
Media Sketchbook - UCSD media, 2001 - 2006
Fiction and Allegory in Contemporary Media Practice, UCSD media, 2000-05
Generating the Narrative - UCSD media, 2000 - 2004
3-Dimensional Design - Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA, Fall 2001/ Spring 2002 and presently
Vermont College MFA Program, Artist-Teacher for students in media, sculpture, Fall 2001 - present
Beginning Drawing: Representing the Subject, UCSD, Winter 1999
Intermediate Drawing: Practices and Genre, UCSD, Fall 1999
Honors, Guest Lectures, Special Projects
Guest Lecturer, UCSD graduate Department/Visual Art, 2/98
Western States Arts Federation, 1995 Fellowship - Honorable Mention
Guest Artist - Casa de la Cultura, Tijuana, B.C. Mexico, March 1994
Guest Artist - Brown University, Performance and Sculpture, February 1994
Guest Artist - Oberlin College, Art & Technology Forum, October 1993
Guest Artist - Awagami paper factory, Tokushima, Japan, August 1993

Brown University, Visual Art Department, BA 1984
University of California at San Diego, M.F.A. in Visual Arts 1993
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture - Skowhegan, Maine 1985

ARTFORUM International October 1995


Though Melissa Smedley’s sculptures are clearly the descendants of furry teacups and spidery hat racks, unlike their Dada and Surrealist ancestors, they are neither extravagant nor irreverent.  A pragmatist of sorts, Smedley reformulates cast-off objects and clothes, appliances and electronics for real, albeit quixotic, purposes.  Her “recombinant objects” as she calls them, suggest tools and props, though it is difficult (if pleasurable) to imagine what their use might be without some sort of demonstration. 
Hanging from the ceiling in her most recent installation Water Table – which also included a video - was a pair of shoes concocted of wooden blocks and felt ; rice paper projected outward above the soles like clouds, while bundles of dried weeds trailed behind.  In the video, Practicing for the Millennium, Smedley wears this footwear to trudge through the stark landscape of the Colorado River basin swept by dragging weeds.  In another scene, Smedley, dressed like an eccentric painter out for some plein air, pushes the 20-foot-long Walking Stick (made of bolted sections of tree trunks fitted with wheels and two empty picture-frames that serve as windshields) in front of her like a huge divining rod.  Her video demonstrations of the uses of these quirky objects prove they are best wielded by the inventor herself; Smedley enacts a performance in which the props demand a harsh choreography.  As a whole, the sequence of vignettes in Practicing for the Millennium describes a strange kind of ecological survivalism.  Smedley is shown hard at work in a landscape of alluvial mudflats and artificial seas that Robert Smithson would have loved.  Titles explain that this “natural panorama” is the result of grandiose waterworks that have run amok.  Smedley’s video persona seems absurdly unwilling to accept the entropic effects in which Smithson reveled.  Railing against ecological waste, she performs athletic feats that seem especially bruising in light of her small rather frail-looking body.  In a scene called Horse Shoes she jolts along laboriously, her feet strapped to a pair of sawhorses.  In Salton Sea, she proceeds through the heat in her felt-block shoes, holding aloft a teapot that she deposits on a reflective satellite dish.  The solar teapot whistles.  Having set up a house nearby (or, rather, the outline of one, a child’s drawing in 3D), Smedley has fashioned, with no small effort, an ambiance of hospitality.  In an especially excruciating night scene, she bears a yoke dangling six red buckets, in which she carries water from the river to the sea.  The utter absurdity of these actions is foiled by the compelling sincerity of her effort.  What predominates in Smedley’s work is an American-style optimism bred of her apparent conviction that anything and everything offers a purpose, if given the chance.  When Smedley, a la Rube Goldberg, attaches a discarded computer keyboard to a makeshift kettledrum to a garden of teacups and saucers on an old box spring and places a huge clay ear in a tub of water on one side, as if to listen, and a tub of corn on the other, as if to feed the hungry, one can only hope that the world is going to dictate a message – one, perhaps, about the mysterious relation of work to play. 

- Faye Hirsch
©Melissa Smedley, 2005