What are the most admired qualities a woman can possess?
Throughout history, civilizations honor these powers by revering Goddesses, female spirits, idols, etc. These deities gave life, participated in war, harmonized the universe, nurtured man, and abide by their own rules.
My figures are flawless but imperfect. Human but eternal.
Virtues are explored, mingling the mortal with the immortal; often revealing extraordinary qualities that are apparent with the everyday woman but not seen.
These traits are revealed in the treatment of the surface, like a skin that scars and yet forgives. Patterns and symbols are used to add hints of significance and interpretation.
With a background in printmaking, I approach the support as if it were a life-sized printing plate. The artwork is incised, scraped, burnished, built up with blocks of pigment and wax; drawn on; erased; layered and layered again. Wax, oil paint, gilders paste, pastel and graphite are used to create a shifting light that changes your perception while moving around the painting. It is this interaction with the textured surfaces and characters in the work that is most satisfying.
Born and raised in a small rural Iowa community, Mary Mello has settled in Spencer, Iowa and currently is Associate Professor of Art at the Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, Iowa. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion in 1988 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Buena Vista University (then Buena Vista College) in 1985. Mello’s work has been in numerous invitational, juried and solo exhibitions throughout the nation.