Melissa Vandenberg


Permanence is an illusion and power an apparition. After enough time passes, the most any of us can hope for is to leave artifacts behind.

With ordinary materials my work addresses the fleeting nature of power and a lack of permanence with both the tangible and metaphysical. Inspiration is garnered from Americana relics, eastern religious practices and an overall nostalgia for vintage materials. We impose a lot of metaphors on objects and possessions, which affects my chosen iconography. Flags, maps, Buddha silhouettes and gravestones are altered into somewhat antagonistic forms. Questions surrounding patriotism, pride and partisanship begin to emerge in work that is both satirical and idealistic. The results are overwhelmingly about mortality, but not exclusively dark or negative. Subtexts touch on resurrection, reincarnation and even recycling.

Much of the work is made with ordinary supplies like matches, quilts, stickers, popsicles, temporary tattoos and other domicile goods. I am partial towards the “familiar,” in hopes of making the challenging subjects addressed in the work more accessible. There is not one mode or material that is preferred over another, but I often find myself gravitating towards sculpture in addition to working with drawing, collage, photography, installation and performance.

My upbringing in the suburbs of Detroit, a northern "Rust Belt" metropolis, combined with Southern “make do” perseverance, has had an enormous impact on my art. Repetition is a predominant motif, reminiscent of assembly line manufacturing from my Detroit origins, but this is combined with the hand-made (aka woman-made). Nationalism, particularly in the US, motivates work that questions the notion of a “homeland” and how national identity intertwines with individual identity.



Sculpture 56
April 13 – May 25, 2018

Melissa Vandenberg: Monument
April 13 – May 25, 2018

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We are pleased to announce the release of CACHE, an ongoing anthology series of limited edition artist books by Derek Lerner.

CACHE2 New Release

Cache2 9 250w

Purchase your copy here.


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Purchase your copy here.

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