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international painting annual 2 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Melissa Furness
Denver, Colorado

University of Colorado Denver,
Assistant Professor

page 85

detail image


I am interested in the idea of travel in many senses of the word--of our attraction to the unknown, the fragmentary, the imperfect, and the incomplete, and conversely our attraction to beauty and the nature of the sublime in the face of today's society.

In my work, I utilize the suggested remains of physical, tangible forms in historical artifacts and ruins, which exist but are incomplete in order to build an alternate world. It is interesting today how we flock to ruins of past ages to consider our identity in relation to time. There are roots and routes that can be drawn, documenting both our line of travel from place to place, but also our line from present to past existence. Through travel, both virtual and actual, we become a hybrid of ourselves and part of an artificial or imagined reality that we feel connected to. The ruin is an open metaphor--real, but fragmented, open to interpretation of what it might have been--and symbolic of a new kind of overpowering external/internal vastness.

The alternative sublime becomes an archeological layering of new and old images and processes within the work. Patterns are printed in an underlying rhythm of color and transparency, a suggestion of the "supersensible substrate" underlying nature. Today, the sense of the sublime in nature still exists, but is misinterpreted by the multitude of contemporary media and technology. Media space becomes a part of this new sublime with its virtual substrate creating a base for hyper-realities.


born: 1975, Britt, Iowa


University of Iowa, MFA 2002
Coe College, BA 1998


selected awards/honors

Curator of "A Feminine Contemporary Sublime," A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 2011
YUMPs (Young Upwardly Mobile Professors) Grant Award and matching Faculty Development Grant, University of Colorado Denver, 2007-11
Juried Exhibition Award Winner, "Matter as Protagonist," curated by Jessica Stockholder, Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT, 2002-03

selected publications

Longmont Times-Call; "A show for the eyes and mind."  Boulder, CO: exhibition review 21 Jan. 2011
Untitled Art Show; "Melissa Furness." Denver, CO: interview 3 Feb. 2011
Becker, Bruce E. and Andrew J. Cole, MDs; Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy: 3rd Edition. Pullman, WA: Washington State University Publishing, cover art, 2010
New American Paintings: 15 Year Anniversary Edition. Wellesley, MA: Open Studios Press p. 84 2009


selected solo or two-person exhibits

Plus Gallery: trans-formations, Denver, CO, 2011
Dairy Center for the Arts: cessation, Boulder, CO, 2011
Santa Reparata International School of Art: Fragments: West+World, Florence, Italy, 2010
CoLAB Projects: aberration-site, New Orleans, LA, 2009


selected group shows

A.I.R. Gallery: A Feminine Contemporary Sublime, Brooklyn, NY, 2011
Fetherston Gallery: Gallery Artists' Fall Exhibition, Seattle, WA, 2011
Lessedra Art Gallery: International Painting Exhibition, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2010
The Drawing Room HU: with/drawn: Contemporary International Drawing Exhibition, Budapest, Hungary, 2010



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