For this exhibition Robert Melee builds upon his previous investigations of the suburban home, yet by limiting himself to grayscale, has yielded a room full of objects that are simultaneously psychological and nostalgic.
For In Between False Comforts Melee has covered the floor in his signature ìmarbleizedî wood paneling and hung three of his plaster and enamel coated curtain paintings, all in black, white, and gray. Melee describes “marbleization” as an effect in which the artist simultaneously channels Martha Stewart and Jackson Pollack. Melee has also created large grayscale versions of his bottle cap paintings: bottle caps nailed to wood panels in a grid, then coated repeatedly in plaster, and finally covered in high-gloss enamel paint. Masquerading as minimalism and op-art, these works play with the boundaries between painting and sculpture.
Works reflecting the artist’s continued interest in human behavior have also been included in the show. Throughout his career Melee has shot over thirty short videos, always focusing on the human body, which is often transformed or in drag. Recently, he created a dance performance with a group of five dancers at Judson Church, and in 2005 curated a two-night event at The Kitchen where he invited nine performers to perform for eight minutes each, on a stage Melee designed. The event also included a live “marbleization” of Melee’s mother.
The figures that Melee has created for In Between False Comforts add a hauntingly grotesque presence to the installation. By coating mannequins in canvas, then plaster and enamel paint these figures become imposing, featureless masses. The figures are spread throughout the space, in various positions and scales (child and adult), creating a silent dialogue between Melee’s invented characters.