Project Space

Melissa Vandenberg: Monument

April 13 through May 25, 2018

Opening reception: April 13, 2018, 6-9pm

Untitled gravestone
Melissa Vandenberg
Untitled Gravestone, 2012
Linen and polyester
46" x 19" x 19" (1.1m x 48 cm x 48 cm)


Melissa Vandenberg: Monument
April 13 – May 25, 2018
Reception: Friday, April 13 from 6-9pm

This exhibition is featured in Sculpture 56: a six-week, multi-gallery contemporary sulpture event at 56 Bogart St.

Monument is an exhibition of sculpture and works on paper by Melissa Vandenberg that, by using ephemeral materials such as cloth and paper, co-opts cultural symbols like flags, obelisks, gravestones, and religious iconographies to manipulate our feelings of nostalgia that in the process, raises questions about cultural and personal identity, power, mortality and memory.

Feeling both satirical and idealistic, Vandenberg’s soft monumental forms are both whimsical and ironic recontextualizations of accepted forms of our collective commemoration, of our collective history and of personal or familial remembrance. For millennia the phallic obelisk has been used in western culture to demonstrate (almost exclusively male) power and communicates this power through commemoration and memory. Vandenberg’s “Untitled Gravestone” stands as a flaccid demarcation of a feminist critique. As historic marker or headstone Vandenberg’s memorials, at first glance, seem cuddly but on deeper consideration are almost aggressive in their deflation of accepted cultural norms. By altering the seemingly permanent material of stone or concrete to stuffed cloth, Vandenberg highlights the fleeting qualities of memory and the sagging permanence, or is it impermanence, of power.

Melissa Vandenberg received her BFA from College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI (1999) and an MFA in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL (2005). Her work has been exhibited in Canada, Germany, Luxembourg and extensively throughout the United States. She has received numerous grants including a Kentucky Foundation for Women Artist Enrichment Grant, the Al Smith Fellowship and was recently shortlisted for the Luxembourg Art Prize. Her studio practice explores the political landscape using national identity, folk art, ancestry, immigration and the perception of a homeland as points of departure. She gravitates to everyday materials like matches, fabric, stickers, wood, temporary tattoos and found objects. Born and educated in Detroit, Melissa Vandenberg is a multidisciplinary artist, educator and curator living and working in Richmond, KY where she is an Associate Professor of Art at Eastern Kentucky University.

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