Mel Rea

Cleveland, OH

My first love in the arts was as a clay sculptor. I did large scale figurative work for nearly 17 years. However, as time passed, I longed to create two dimensional works. It was during this period that I discovered a small batch of beeswax left behind from the last of my grandfather’s beehives.
My grandfather spent his childhood in Russia where he was inspired to build an apiary farm. His dream came true as an adult in the States where he built and farmed his own set of beehives. My own name is translated into the Greek word for “honeybee. ” As a young girl, I felt such a sense of peace walking amongst my grandfather’s hives. I developed a very deep connection, respect, and appreciation for Mother Nature. Like many artists, She is a constant source of inspiration. That old batch of beeswax led my transition into encaustic painting (the painting method utilizing molten beeswax).
The transition from a clay artist to an encaustic artist felt very natural. The soft satin finish of the beeswax replaced my clay glazes. The ability to incise elegant, clean lines satisfied my need for a sculptural surface.
As someone who is committed to being in a constant state of evolution, I’ve recently expanded from encaustics into acrylic on canvas. I’m attracted to the drying pace and application versatility of acrylics. I enjoy applying the paint in a variety of ways whether it is to brush, splash, drip, spray, or scrape. This diverse play of paint creates a lively energy to the composition. When splashing the paint across the surface on the canvas, it feels captured in a state of motion. My paintings are an abstracted assembles of colorful lines and shapes that float and intersect in multiple sheer layers. I draw a great deal of inspiration from abstract expressionists. Some of my super heroes include Helen Frankenthaler, Emil Nolde, Joan Mitchell, Kim Chung Hak, and Cecily Brown.
While I've grown fond of working on canvas, I can't deny my affection for working on paper. No other medium has felt as natural and intuitive as working with paper. It is by far my greatest love. It is the softest and most vulnerable medium to work with and unforgiving at any moment. Papers’ need to be framed and encapsulated in a box makes it exude the quality of a delicate treasure. I’ve not committed to working with any specific medium with paper; however, I most frequently utilize ink, acrylic, and powdered graphite.
As time carries on, this simple sentiment conveys my relationship with art; “We were together, I forget the rest,” Walt Whitman.

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