Growing up in coastal California, my encounters with nature have been informed by toxic spills and disappearing wildlife. These events signify what anthropologist Anne Tsing calls, “the art of living on a damaged planet.”What lessons can be learned from our current climate of precarity? Inspired by nature, I use rich colors to simulate diverse landscapes. In my process-driven compositions, I employ scraping to reflect nature’s regeneration, balancing density and transparency to illuminate how loss informs growth. By tracing our interconnectivity, what new ways of thinking about our “damaged planet” emerge? By recording these life stories, how do we preserve these otherwise irretrievable losses?
Melissa Wang received her B.A. in Literature/Writing from the University of California, San Diego and her M.A. in English from University of California, Davis. She researched and taught writing and science-fiction literature as a PhD candidate at UC Davis before segueing into tech. While designing for major global companies, she noticed environmental and social injustices being fueled at an unprecedented scale. Thus in late 2019, she began full-time art-making as a means of pursuing social and ecological liberation. Since then, she has exhibited at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA; Torrance Art Museum in Los Angeles, CA; and the de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA with a solo exhibition at Root Division (Frank-Ratchye space) in San Francisco, CA. Her work can be found in private and public collections, including Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in Providence, RI and Facebook in Menlo Park, CA.