Artist's Statement

In most of the world today, our experience of The Natural is a concept. We go into parks to commune with Mother Earth where we have built and shaped the land to fit our comfort level, removing the chaos and risks of actual wilderness. The bar for what is an authentic nature experience is continually lowered as our experiences are further and further removed from the actual wild. Urban parks have recently begun replacing real grass with large artificial grass fields. They are a delight to lie on. They seem perfect. Clean, flat, and fresh, as we would like nature to be.

This dissonance between what is natural and what is artificial is the central theme in my work. I create landscape that charm in their extreme artificiality. Pulling the viewer into an immediate visceral and tactile experience, my work nurtures visitors, filling them with the joy we fantasize nature to be about. At the same time my natural settings are clearly made of manmade materials, exaggerating the distance from the actual wild. By engulfing my viewers in an artificial natural setting within the urban sprawl, we reflect on this relationship: what do we need from the natural and how this need can be fulfilled.

Melanie's Résumé