Born in Danbury, CT, 1973, Melissa Desmond Mohammadi currently works in Oakland, California. She earned a BFA with a concentration in painting and printmaking from Rhode Island College (Providence, RI) and an MFA from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX). She has enjoyed the generous support of Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA and In Cahoots residency in Petaluma, CA. Her work is in many private and public collections and has been exhibited nationally. She lives with her husband and three children on the Delta of the San Francisco Bay.
My meticulously observed drawings and prints on paper range in size from 7’ long immersive watercolor and pastel botanical landscapes to handheld, exquisitely cut and layered tunnel books.
My time spent studying medieval manuscripts and tapestries as an assistant to a book conservator, during research travels in Europe and Turkey, and as a graduate student under the Byzantinist Annemarie Weyl Carr have synthesized with the recent exploration of tunnel books at In Cahoots residency and printmaking as a resident at Kala Institute in Berkeley, as well as my ongoing mixed-media works on paper.
My immersive botanical landscapes on paper or panel are invitations to float and find respite. The progressive acts of labor in the structure of coral, mollusc shells, and ferns remind me of the repeated pulse of mothering and renewal. Recent tunnel books and collages are utopian constructions akin to Victorian garden books; they are possible fictions, fairy-tale futures — an exuberantly inhabitable present. It has been many years now that I have lived without violence or threat in my home or neighborhood, and I celebrate in paper, healing as I accrue the layers of peaceful years.