Climate events around the world have inspired technofixes (e.g., SpaceX, Svalbard’s Seed Vault) that reenact fantasies and fears about the division between nature and humankind. Inspired by speculative feminist works, I am interested in how animacy emerges in sites of precarity to disrupt Westernized knowledge systems and their subsequent solutions. Like Donna Haraway’s interpolation of Bruno Latour’s Gaïa stories, my works meditate on the intimate yet expansive ways in which nature and human vulnerability are intertwined. I use water and paint to create layers; I scrape through them to reveal warm and/or cool colors. These diffuse and spontaneous actions aim to generate organic patterns resembling nebula, volcanic fissures or abandoned forests. Following the practices of anthropologist Anne Tsing, my visual mark-making speculates on the “art of living on a damaged planet.” What potentialities emerge through observation? What kinds of life or ways of living unfold? Who unfolds - and how? As bright, vulnerable shapes circulate, entangle and collide, I imagine a universe in which nothing is untethered - and everything belongs.

Melissa is a self-taught artist. She studied writing at the University of California, San Diego and received her M.A. in English from the University of California, Davis. She taught and researched literature through the lens of race and gender as a PhD candidate at UC Davis before segueing into tech, where she designed visual content for companies like Facebook and Google. Since 2017, she has participated in shows throughout the U.S, including at the Abrams Claghorn Gallery, Woman Made Gallery and forthcoming shows at the De Young Museum and Kala Art Institute. Her artwork can be found in private and corporate collections. Currently, she is a studio artist at Root Division in San Francisco.
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