Oct 18, 2011

PROFILE | Douglas Melini

Colossus, 2003, acrylic on canvas, 8ft x 63ft

Douglas Melini is a New York based artist that works primarily in hard-edged, nonobjective abstraction. The work shown above is one of his earliest works where he explores a multitude of different color combinations on many different canvas sizes and shapes. His Colossus isn't meant to exist in a vacuum, and actually adapts to its environment with the ability to rearrange it's panels to fit the space. Photos of this piece to this day remain on the wall of his studio as a point of inspiration, along with various masks, natural forms, seashells, music, and whiskey.
Colossus (detail)

Currently Melini still works in hard-edged, nonobjective abstraction though he has become much more inventive in his approach to his subject matter and has added varying patterned colors that resemble plaid and a variety of geometric shapes that separate the canvas into sections. Upon breaking down the patterned shapes his works begin to resemble African masks or Native American totems. His works are also very reminiscent of op-art and even give off a kaleidoscope type of effect; as such, his works vibrate and glow with intensity. He has also completed different works using the same patterns and structures of his previous works in a different color scheme; something that has been done by many others and shows Melini's interests in color interactions. Something that is so simple yet can change a painting completely. Changing a work from a vibrating display of energy to a piece that is inert but still has beautiful decorative patterns.

The Forms of Thought, 2011, acrylic on canvas
Melini works in a very structured way that seems to be reflected in his paintings. Every detail is planned out ahead of time and mapped out on the canvas before paint is applied. His meticulous planing and structure also adds a much needed repetition in his work that helps move the eye around and gives his pieces a real decorative feeling.Though he is very structured he is not immune to mistakes which if you look at many of his details, many of which can be found on his profile site douglasmelini.com, he isn't trying to hide them, for example: below you can see drips and runs that Melini seems to make no effort to fix.

The Forms of Thought (detail)

In an interview in 2009 Melini discusses one of the issues he had in his work which was what to do about framing and the edges of the canvas, which can be found on progress-report.org along with other information. Due to a flood in his studio, the sides of some of his work became damaged and as a result he started thinking more on what the sides of the canvas could be and how to treat them. Adding frames, he said, allowed his "new paintings to function more like interiors...creating a border, a kind of viewfinder type of space, keeping the information on the inside." He goes on to stat that he uses his frames as "an opposition to what is on the inside." This meant that as well as the frame's face, he had the sides of the frame to think of. He solved that problem with bands of color that "activate the sides, so that when you move around the object it remains visually active from all vantage points."

Fluent Green(side view), 2011, acrylic on canvas
 His use of the frame and the way he deals with the sides of the frame do give his works a more sculptural feel and keep the work vibrant and alive from all angles.

-Josh Seaton

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