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Melanie Parke’s lush paintings combine landscape, interior and still life elements. Parke reconstructs familiar interiors and filters them through the ideology of memory. She sets up the space intuitively, with broad marks and textured gestures, then pieces together arrangements to compose a homespun narrative. Her subjects often center on domestic interiors, rustic tables, entryways, window nooks, decorative objects, and gardens with the intent to suggest safe gathering spots. Flowers representing friendships and the women in her life are often the center of her work. The presence of birds suggests curiosity and wonder, sometimes allegories of fragility, sometimes euphoria.
Melanie Parke grew up on a small horse farm in Indiana and received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989. Committed to expanding opportunities for fellow artists, she has been instrumental in initiating several artist-in-residence programs in the national parks since 1993. She hosted numerous artists from around the country at her artist retreat, The Provincial, an artist-run exhibition and project space that operated between 2005-2020. Melanie has had solo shows throughout the Midwest and southern states, as well as in New York City. Melanie was awarded residencies at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in California in 1994, and Yosemite in 1996. She was a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome in 2015 and 2018. She and her artist husband, Richard Kooyman, live and work in Arcadia, Michigan.