Rural settings and table top arrangements emerge from my own life. Through memory and mash-up, I reconstruct the ideology of lush and leisurely surroundings. Flowers are an icon to friendships and the women in my life, and I look for ways to pair that sentiment with references to texture, textiles and temperate landscapes. Specific interiors and terrain are often implied. Shifting the emphasis to form, pattern and tone, I work to destabilize notions of representation. This is an effort to trigger memories while unmooring them at the same time.
Melanie Parke was born in 1966 in Indiana and is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Growing up in a family that encouraged curiosity, risk and intellectual pursuits, Melanie gravitated to nature and the arts. She studied performance, voice, philosophy and painting. After art school Melanie proposed 30 artist in residence programs in the National Parks, personally launching 8 programs that exist today. She spends several weeks every summer on the remote North Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. With her husband, Richard Kooyman, who is also a painter, she lives in the tiny town of Chief, Michigan, population 13.