Melissa Kretschmer was born in 1962, Santa Monica (California). She lives and works in New York.
Melissa Kretschmer’s paintings dwell at the crossroads of sculpture and painting, where the interaction of her works’ elements enables them to exist both on a plane and in a space all at once. They are as much about their inside as they are about their surface and means. With a wide variety of materials, Kretschmer’s work reconfigures the predefined borders of painting.
Her “excavations” or progressive uncovering of underlays of a work’s plywood base, combined with applications of colour and texture, seem to expose depths well beneath the surface of the wall behind them. These works exist somewhere between painting and sculpture, where aspects of each technique reveal their being inextricably linked: flatness and depth, colour and matter, transparency/translucency and opacity, light and shadow. Starting from plywood, which she uses as her palette, she stacks layers of vellum, gesso, gouache, beeswax and graphite, also uses sawing and cutting as a means for drawing and sculpting. These layers build up with overlapping sheets of vellum washed with casein gesso in order to obtain a delicate and translucent surface. Melissa Kretschmer never feels fully satisfied or convinced by the simple dichotomy of “surface and support.” She always felt the presence of something more, that the experience was potentially more complex than what it appeared to be. There is a literal and physical depth in painting, which inevitably enriches and enhances its perceived depth. “What happens on the surface begins deep within.”