MELISSA DUNN L Ross Gallery Website CV
Memphis, TN | Painting
Melissa Dunn’s studio is in her house in Memphis, TN, where she was born and has spent most of her life. She teaches painting and drawing at Flicker Street Studio and Carpenter Art Garden, an afterschool art program. She was a founding member of the Artist Advisory Council at ArtsMemphis, which help develop the ArtsAccelorator grant and Hustle, a professional development series for artists. She’s published the zine Puppies, Puppies, Puppies through Walls Divide Press and is represented by L Ross Gallery in Memphis.
I see the world through shapes. What fascinates me about a circle, square, or triangle is its mutability when it comes in contact with color, pattern, and placement. I do a lot of drawing to explore theses relationships, and once I’ve hit on a compelling configuration, I’ll draw it repeatedly so it’s a part of my muscle memory as I paint. My paintings vary from one shape scenario to another, but what connects them is my relationship to color. Source materials for the colors I choose are everywhere - from childhood photographs with 70s oranges, to a piece of wall paper, to drag makeup tutorials on Youtube. The way I use color to push, pull, and manipulate shapes is hopefully an entryway into an experience.
Whatever the formal drive and preoccupations of my work, it is ultimately emotionally engaged. My purpose is to imbue love into the act of making with the hope that somehow that intention will find its way into a greater good. I tend to keep this part of my practice, which comes directly from my heart, private. It’s vulnerable, personal, and sentimental. But in these divided times, where empathy and connection are being drowned out by fear, it feels important to acknowledge that as my mind studies shape’s relationship to color, in my heart I repeat the mantra “love, love, love, love”.