David Castello Gallery


SEMI-QUASI-BOWER RECREATIONAL
JANUARY 9 - FEBRUARY 13, 2016

Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to announce Semi-Quasi-Bower Recreational, an exhibition of new works by Robert Melee.
In new paintings, sculptures, as well as large-scale installation, Melee continues his investigation of the psychology of the everyday. Often incorporating cast-off quotidian items in his works alongside vividly colored poured paint, Melee points towards a melancholy specific to domestic space, one that is derived simultaneously from familiarity, decoration, and otherness.
At the exhibition’s center is Bower Pool, a new installation that envelops the gallery’s architecture. Drawing its name from Bower birds, who construct lavish, colorful nests as part of a mating ritual, Melee’s installation employs a commercially available above ground pool, overturned and surrounding a column. Streamers, party favors, lights, and gold decorations spill out on the floor, representing an obsessive accumulation. While these low-budget materials root the installation in kitsch, they also ground it within a compulsion for embellishment, and its failed transformative quality. Initially overpowering in its scale, upon closer inspection, Bower Pool soon reveals its components for what they are, the deflated markers of celebration.
This itself becomes the impetus for a series of photographic sculptures, newly introduced to Melee’s practice. A mural size work titled Portrait of Debs occupies one of the gallery’s walls, and depicts fashion designer David Quinn, aka DEBS painting a room. What begins as a household chore, evolves into a drunken decadence, with DEBS alone, lost in paint, a drop cloth, and garland. Evoking a similar sense of solitude is a series of works composed from images taken by Melee in Atlantic City, that depict decorative elements in hotels and casinos – stacked chairs, endless carpets, artificial plants, and sculpture. Layered and collaged, these additive images begin to blur into forms and painterly marks, wavering between figuration and abstraction. Affixing domestic objects such as ceiling fans and chandeliers to these surfaces, Melee draws attention to a paradox present both by the city itself, as well as in his own practice: a sense of isolation and decay that is built through a repeated attempt at opulence.
Robert Melee lives and works in New York City. Semi-Quasi-Bower Recreational is Melee’s seventh exhibition at the gallery. His work has been exhibited extensively at venues including: Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, (solo), Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington D.C. (solo), The Contemporary Art Museum Houston, New Jersey MoCA, Asbury Park, MoMA PS1, Queens, Sculpture Center, Queens, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Melee’s work is held in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, and the Milwaukee Museum of Art, among others. 

Atlantic City Series


click photo-albums for more info


click curtain-draped-works for more info

 

 

 


 

 

 


David Castello Gallery


David Castillo Gallery
September 18 - October 31, 2015
http://davidcastillogallery.com/robert-melee-its-last-move/

David Castillo Gallery is proud to present Its Last Move, a solo show by Robert Melee. Through painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed-media installations, Melee reactivates questions that patina his milieu: How does materiality feel? How does form perform? The artist's responses are often distinguished for contextualizing meditations on minimalism, op art, and/or theater within the dark domicile of suburban tract housing, pricking the site of familial relationships as they unraveled or as their unraveling is remembered.
A series of photographs taken by the artist on the eve of selling his childhood home comprise the exhibition's centrifugal force. The photographs document the house— empthy shelves, bare walls, and ghostly stamps of furniture on carpet— with neither effrontery nor grace, criticism nor sentiment. Guided by their formal qualities, notably a lattice of beiges, mauves, and vermillion, Melee collages, crops, rotates, and mounts the images, often attaching this territory to segments of track lighting or culpted and painted fiberglass curtains. These artworks mark a reorientation of the photograph in the artist's practice from a supplementary sculptural object to the site of sculpture itsself.
Fabricated curtain formations appear throughout Its Last Move, framing the exhibition as an imminent curtain call on adolescence (his, before moving to New York in the 1980’s), autonomy (his mother's, before moving to a senior residence), as well as the fixed boundary between memorialization and celebration, nostalgia and immediacy, comedy and tragedy. Whether over a magician's campy tabernacle, a mourning shroud, or the windows left dressed at the insistence of Melee's mother, curtains are a permeable border, signifying obscuration as well as revelation.
Last Move Curtain shows the artist's signature marbling of enamel and fiberglass over wood. Similar mark-making partitions works on paper, exhibited for the first time as studies for sculptures like Untitled Draped Figure, in which a mannequin head and torso are bound to wooden architecture with ropes of fiberglass and enamel paint. The emergent figure is equal parts Venus de Milo, The Nightmare, Virgin Mary, mother. Inter Gilded Draped Substitution features six irregular stalactite and stalagmite panels, a mine of 23 carat gold, enamel, plaster, and the artist's hallmark beer bottle caps on wood.
The aesthetic phylum of curtains invades Its Last Move like kudzu, at junctures as dense and as violent. In a series of sculptures titled Disco Tray, vintage silver trays are ensconced in a fungal accretion of enamel and plaster. Substance abuse and surface abuse seem to solidify in these examples of domestic body horror, both erotic and grotesque, perverse and affirmative.
Another series, Lamp, wraps the anatomy of freestanding lamps in plaster or fiberglass and candies them in armatures of enamel: lava dark, mutant green, boil pink. Although non-functioning, one is attracted to the gruesome lamps like a moth, a dangerous desire to fry in the uncanny between a familiar silhouette and an untenable surface, between painting and sculpture. Like Melee's former investigations into found household objects, Lamp raises questions of class and associated taste. The series also gestures toward narratives of conflict and neglect. In order to engage pre-linguistic experiences like death and dying, the tenants of Its Last Move, we employ metaphor. Metaphorization is arguably the last move invited by Melee's artworks and the personal history they beckon.


Its Last Move, installation view

 

 


Its Last Move, installation view

 

 


Its Last Move, installation view

 

 

2015
Its Last Move, installation view

 

 


Lamp, 2015
enamel, plaster and fiber glass on lamp
32 x 28 x 18

 

 


Her Last Move, 2015
enamel and fiber glass and wood, on plexi mounted C-print photos
72 x 68 x 3 in

 

 


Its Last Move, installation view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Last Move Light, 2015
track lighting on plexi mounted C-print photo
20 x 100 x 16 in

 

 


ts Last Move, installation view

 

 


Untitled, 2015
enamel on paper + mylar
48 x 43 in

 

 


Its Last Move, installation view

 

 


Photo Sconce , 2015
enamel and fiber glass on light sconce, on plexi mounted C-print photos
50 x 40 x 16 in

 

 


Last Move Curtain, 2015
enamel and fiber glass and wood
88 x 30 in

 

 


Untitled Draped Figure, 2015
enamel and fiber glass and wood, on mannequin
79x 28 x 30 in

 

 


Untitled Draped Figure, 2015
enamel and fiber glass and wood, on mannequin
79x 28 x 30 in

 

 

 

 


 

 

Dozen Roses DozenRoses

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Invite and Press Release

Robert Melee
Triscuit Obfuscation
September 15 – October 22, 2011

The Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Triscuit Obfuscation, Melee’s sixth solo exhibition at the gallery.  For this exhibition, the artist has created three discreet environments: Passage, Parlor and Stairs.  Each space channels and explores the distinct yet inter-related psychologies of the domestic, classic, modern, and voyeuristic – each distilled through painting, video and sculpture.

The viewer enters the exhibit through Passage.  A dark and narrow hallway, Passage is inhabited by three video works presenting different voyeuristic positions of the artist: witness, spectator and director.  In each of the works the viewer is implicated into the action of the videos by being cast into the role of spectator or witness, resulting in an overall sense of isolation.

The second environment, entitled Parlor is accessed through a crawl space.  In Parlor, the viewer is presented with a generic domestic palette of beige framing three sculptural works.  Melee marries the classical and the modern with Rite of Spring Mattress Unit – a new sculpture, which combines videos and photographic stills.  In Stravinsky's score we hear irregular rhythms and musical instruments stretched to the limit of their capacity.  Inspired by Stravinsky's classic masterpiece, Melee's new characters levitate and travel through the changing of seasons. Some end their lives, while others exaggeratedly perform chores within a banal household.

Also in Parlor, a new figurative sculpture Clock Her probes the common household object with ancient sculpture.  A classically posed mannequin smothered and tied in canvas, dripping with enamel atop an aggressively deconstructed generic household object (grandfather clock), Melee redefines the psychological and classical aspects of sculpture by contrasting the exaggerated and dramatic with the quotidian.

In the third and final space, the viewer is confronted with Stairs, a monumental sculpture that mirrors those in the childhood home of the artist – only now, elongated - similar to stadium seating. On the stairs themselves, Melee has installed marbleized panels on the risers, which combine to create a large marbleized painting – Melee's signature plastic and ridiculous interpretation of classic marble. Facing Stairs is Process Unit, a video/sculpture that explores Melee's process as an artist. One of the video plays with the fetishistic act of "Sploshing" (pouring food on a partner for pleasure) by pouring plaster and enamel to create shiny, lubricated, and deformed surfaces.  The act of pouring paint instead of food parallels the bridge between high and low in popular culture.  Another video references one on the artists obsessively-made monstrous mobile sculptures – a human is swallowed by a confusing kitsch explosion of celebratory decorations which ultimately performs and comes to life.

With this exhibition Melee is exploring a new direction – bridging his previous work with a newfangled sensibility. Taken together, these interior spaces and the works therein are the culmination of Melee’s ongoing project of combining disparate elements, architectures and mediums in the attempt to explore the psychologies of their fusions – domestic and gallery, figuration and abstraction, performance and stasis, and fiction and non-fiction.  

Robert Melee has shown extensively in the United States at the David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles, The Sculpture Center, the New Museum, PS1 in New York, and the Corcoran and Milwaukee Art Museums. His large-scale bronze sculptures have been shown at City Hall Park in New York. Melee has also exhibited Internationally with solo shows at White Cube and Sutton Lane in London, The Haifa Museum in Israel, and his work was also included in the Portugal Biennial.

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 

Triscuit Obfuscation (installation view)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Melee
Unshamelessfulnessly
October 11th – November 15th, 2008

Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Robert Melee's Unshamelessfulnessly, the artist's fifth solo exhibition at the gallery. For this exhibition, Melee uses multimedia practices to build upon his work based on the suburban home by incorporating household appliances, craft, kitsch, and modern and classical art references- yielding a room full of objects, that are simultaneously psychological and nostalgic; beautiful, and abused.

Works featured in the show include painting and sculpture, often combining the two in a seamlessly bizarre conflation. A lamp, a classic plaster bust, or a campy decorative peacock, are broken and fragmented and draped with a frozen curtain that is dripping with layers of hi gloss, enamel paint. The multicolored and vibrant palette is topped with a black glob of paint, destroying the optimistic curtain like a flow of tar. Two new life-sized figurative sculptures defy gravity, or re-direct it – stacked up, dripping down, nailed across, the works are multivalent and appear dynamically static. But while the works visually evoke themes of the grotesque, they simultaneously reference classical sculpture as well as modern painting.

Anti-Inter Shamelessness Substitution, 2008, one of the largest works in the exhibition features one of the artist’s signature bottle cap paintings, (beer bottle caps embedded in plaster and painted with layers of enamel) that hugs the silhouette of a 70’s stove, referencing the nostalgic and pop art. The painting element stands free, and is visible from both sides; while it cross-sections the stove, it also leans on the appliance, and draws itself in. The piece itself has a unique dynamism, pushing and pulling, again, between painting and sculpture, until finally, it finds its resting place where the boundaries between the mediums are erased.

Within the exhibition Unshamelessfulnessly, a new installation has been produced entitled Andrew Kreps Office, in which the artist continues to investigate and challenge mundane architecture- attempting to glamorize the quotidian (a rec room, a basement, and here, the office) with low budget building materials. Melee’s installations are often topped with his obsessive interpretation of classic marbleizing, resulting in a ridiculously strange and claustrophobic environment. A drop ceiling is hung with these marbleized panels, and broken up only by the occasional fluorescent light square.

Robert Melee has shown extensively internationally, having solo shows at both White Cube and Sutton Lane in London. And he has exhibited nationally at the Sculpture Center, the New Museum and PS 1, as well as the Corcoran and Milwaukee Art Museums. Robert will be exhibiting two large-scale bronze sculptures at the upcoming Frieze Art Fair Sculpture Park, and is working on a one-person exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles in 2009.

The exhibition will be on view from October 11th – November 15th, 2008. A reception will be held for the artist at the gallery on October 11th from 6 - 8 PM. For information please call Erin Somerville at 212-741-8849, or email at erin@andrewkreps.com.

 

 

 

Unshamelessfulnessly (installation view)

 

 

 

Unshamelessfulnessly (installation view)

 

 

 

Unshamelessfulnessly (installation view)

 

 

 

Unshamelessfulnessly (installation view)

 

 

 

Unshamelessfulnessly (installation view)

 

 

 

Unshamelessfulnessly (installation view)

 

 

 

David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new work by Robert Melee. The exhibition opens on March 13 and runs through April 17, with an opening reception to be held on Saturday, March 13, from 6:00––9:00pm. Melee will show new works that transform elements of modernist and classical formalism into the building blocks for his own irreverent, kitsch-filled language.

Since the beginning of his career, Melee has sought to relocate the formal debates of the Western art historical tradition in the psychological realm of the suburban home. Whether he is honoring and disrupting the integrity of the picture plane, testing the limits of autobiographical reference, or telescoping Warhol's pillage-and-burn regard for culture into an intricately-rendered personal iconography, Melee situates his practice in a place where high and low not only interact but cross-pollinate.

On view in the current exhibition will be examples of Melee's beer bottle cap paintings, in which he builds up a sculpturally activated surface to skew, accentuate and/or undermine compositions (which sometimes include other found objects) and color relationships. These works arose out of a desire to return to the solitude of the studio; after working on short films exclusively for a period in the 1990s, Melee wanted to make physical works that would encompass, abstractly, some of the issues he had tackled in the films: class, obsessive behaviors, nostalgia, and humor. The use of beer bottle caps, found objects that accumulate as a result of drinking, becomes both a formal gesture and a sociological one. The beer bottle caps also lend an element of craft to the paintings, even as compositional strategies borrowed from mid-twentieth century Modernism are used to organize the works' overt physicality. Melee's paintings can also be seen as sites where urban and suburban attitudes enter into both conflict and collaboration.

Such conflation of high and low is not merely an end in itself, but awakens the mind and eye to the possibility of intense aesthetic potential in the suburban environment. In his sculptures, Melee often combines disparate found elements––audio speakers, mannequins, appliances, sections of wall––with painted plaster that appears to be draped like fabric. In some works the plaster elements take on a primary role, and even overtake the found objects altogether. Included in this group is a sculpture in which a mannequin is covered with plaster and paint; here the human form, and its psychological implications, can also be traced back to Melee's earlier film works. Others pieces are wall-based, and seem to resemble sculptures of paintings, their plaster forms like lengths of canvas that have been bunched, rolled or pinned.

Melee's formal experimentation finds its psychological analogues in the blurring of beauty and grotesquerie, nostalgia and critique. In so doing, Melee's work suggests an underground or alternative narrative of how and why visual ideas develop; because Melee's language draws in such a large part from the private realm of domestic environments, his work elicits emotional responses that are both uncannily familiar and disarmingly strange.

 

 

 

David Kordansky Gallery, LA (installation view)

 

 

 

Unshamelessfulnessly (installation view)

 

 

 

Unshamelessfulnessly (installation view)

 

 

 

Poplar, Sculpture Center, New York (installation view)

 

 

Poplar, Sculpture Center, New York (installation view)

 

 

Poplar, Sculpture Center, New York (installation view)

 

 

Poplar, Sculpture Center, New York (installation view)

 

 

Poplar, Sculpture Center, New York (installation view)

 

 

Poplar, Sculpture Center, New York (installation view)

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

invite and Press Release

Robert Melee
In Between False Comforts
October 13th – November 12th, 2005

Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Robert Melee's In Between False Comforts, the artist's fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. For this exhibition Melee builds upon his previous investigations of the suburban home, yet by limiting himself to grayscale, has yielded a room full of objects that are simultaneously psychological and nostalgic.

For In Between False Comforts Melee has covered the floor in his signature “marbleized” wood paneling and hung three of his plaster and enamel coated curtain paintings, all in black, white, and gray. Melee describes "marbleization" as an effect in which the artist simultaneously channels Martha Stewart and Jackson Pollack. Melee has also created large grayscale versions of his bottle cap paintings: bottle caps nailed to wood panels in a grid, then coated repeatedly in plaster, and finally covered in high-gloss enamel paint. Masquerading as minimalism and op-art, these works play with the boundaries between painting and sculpture.

Works reflecting the artist's continued interest in human behavior have also been included in the show. Throughout his career Melee has shot over thirty short videos, always focusing on the human body, which is often transformed or in drag. Recently, he created a dance performance with a group of five dancers at Judson Church, and in 2005 curated a two-night event at The Kitchen where he invited nine performers to perform for eight minutes each, on a stage Melee designed. The event also included a live "marbleization" of Melee's mother.

The figures that Melee has created for In Between False Comforts add a hauntingly grotesque presence to the installation. By coating mannequins in canvas, then plaster and enamel paint these figures become imposing, featureless masses. The figures are spread throughout the space, in various positions and scales (child and adult), creating a silent dialogue between Melee's invented characters.

The exhibition will be on view from October 13th – November 12th, 2005. A reception, which will feature a performance by Julie Atlas Muz, will be held for the artist at the gallery on October 13th from 6 - 8 PM at 558 West 21st St., New York City. For information call 212-741-8849. Robert Melee's Stage Works and Substitutions will be on view at Sutton Lane Gallery in London from October 18th - November 18th, 2005.

 

 

 

In Between False Comforts (installation view)

 

 

 

In Between False Comforts (installation view)

 

 

 

In Between False Comforts (installation view)

 

 

 

In Between False Comforts (installation view)

 

 

 

In Between False Comforts (installation view)

 

 

 

Mobile, Andrew Kreps Gallery, NYC (installation view)

 

 

 

Mobile, Lisa Kirk's Legion, NYC (installation view)

 

 

Mobile, NJ MOCA, NJ (installation view)

 

 

Mobile, Futura Gallery, Prague (installation view)

 

 

Mobile, Futura Gallery, Prague (installation view)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basel Statement, Switzerland

 

 

Basel Statement, Greater NY, MOMA + Currents 31 Milwaukee Art Museum

 

 

Currents 31, Milwaukee Art Museum Kreps Gallery

 

 

Greater NY, MOMA + Currents 31 Milwaukee Art Museum Kreps Gallery

 

 

Greater NY, MOMA + Currents 31 Milwaukee Art Museum Kreps Gallery

 

 

Greater NY + Currents 31 (installation view)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


Invite and Press Release

Robert Melee
You Me and Her
September 5 - October 5

Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present You Me and Her, Robert Melee’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. Melee has previously exhibited works using various mediums such as film, video, photography, sculpture and painting. This exhibition seeks to further Melee’s investigation of the dynamics and aesthetics of the American suburban home. The exhibition will divide the gallery into three spaces: The Gallery, The Viewing Room, and The Backroom.

During the opening reception the artist’s mother will be on display; referencing previous work. After the reception, this performance will be replayed on a video monitor, in place of Melee’s mother.

The first space, The Gallery, contains works painted in colors of yellow and white. This work, “Substitute Homage Substitution,” references Josef Albers “Homage to a Square.”

The second space, The Viewing Room, is lit with red light and features two videos, “You Me and Her” and “Popcorn Mommy.” The first video work challenges the notion of intimacy, the second depicts an interaction between the artist and his mother that is simultaneously disturbing and humorous.

The third space, The Backroom, is completely covered from floor to ceiling in an alternating pattern of fake wood paneling and marbleized paint. Everything in this room is color coordinated in blue, green, and white. On display, there will be a curtain sculpture, and a circular home entertainment unit which holds vintage televisions featuring five new silent video works and photographic stills.

This exhibition further develops the concept “Baloneyism.” The exhibition will be on view from September 5 to October 5, 2002. A reception will be held for the artist in the gallery on September 5 from 6-8 PM at 516 West 20th St., New York City. For information call 212-741-8849.


Andrew Kreps Gallery would like to thank Sony Electronics for their generous

 

 

 

You Me and Her, Andrew Kreps Gallery

 

 

 

You Me and Her, Andrew Kreps Gallery

 

 

You Me and Her, Andrew Kreps Gallery

 

 

You Me and Her, Andrew Kreps Gallery

 

 

You Me and Her, Andrew Kreps Gallery

 

 

(invite)

 

 

Andrew Kreps Gallery, NYC + Corcoran Museum, Washington DC

 

 

(detail)

 

 

 

White Cube Gallery, London