Melanie McLain

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Artist Statement

Architecture and design of institutional spaces prime our expectations for the specific behaviors or functions that will occur within them. The choice of floor plan, furniture, color, material, lighting, and sound are designed to implicitly form an understanding of how to behave and the social encounters to be expected. This is especially prominent in industries that attend to the body – hospitals, fitness centers, spas – where people are implicitly guided to suspend their normal boundaries regarding touch, intimacy, and privacy. Borrowing these familiar, functional aesthetics, I create sites for sensory experience that explore how our physical senses formulate our social environment.

My work takes the form of installation and performance that contains architecture, sculpture, video, dance and acrobatics. I use movement, design, and touch to explore the intersection of the built environment and social interactions. Using physical, emotional, and spatial senses, I decode, interact, and respond to my surroundings to develop architectural spaces that become sites for interactive performance.


2016 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
2012 MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
2006 BFA in Sculpture, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
2006 BS in Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL


For Sale By Owner. Curated by Baris Gokturk. Hilltop Antiques. Skowhegan, ME
Queens International 2016. Queens Museum. Queens, NY
EAF15: Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition. Socrates Sculpture Park. Queens, NY
Live Action, Sunday Night Video. Curated by Justin Plakas. MINT Gallery. Atlanta, GA
Ander Mikalson: Three’s Company for 8 Performers, Churner & Churner Gallery, New York, NY.
A Narrow Hollow Volume, in collaboration with Ander Mikalson. Practice Gallery. Philadelphia, PA
Feeling Tone. Bedfellows Club. Oakland, CA.
NYC Dutch Acro Festival. Performing with Toss-Up Acrobatics. Brooklyn Zoo. Brooklyn, NY
Side Out. Curated by Keith Varadi. Primetime Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Dialogic. Curated by Mary Salvante. Rowan University Art Gallery. Glassboro, NJ
New Work. VCU Sculpture Alumni Exhibition. 299 Meserole. Brooklyn, NY
Crest. 1708 Gallery. Richmond, VA
Suzanne. Curated by Amy Hauft and Kendall Buster. Artisphere. Arlington, VA
New Waves. Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Virginia Beach, VA
Warm Compression – Damp Gestures (MFA Thesis Exhibition and Performance).
Anderson Gallery. Richmond, VA
PDF. Curated by Patrick Gantert. Allegra LaViola Gallery. New York, NY
OVC 2011. Institute of Contemporary Art. Philadelphia, PA
The Wrong Miracle. Curated by Oscar Santillan. Galleria NoMINIMO. Guayaquil, Ecuador


Visiting Scholar. NYU, Steinhart School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York, NY
Workspace Residency. Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. New York, NY
Emerging Artist Fellowship. Socrates Sculpture Park. Queens, NY
Hot Picks. Smack Mellon. Brooklyn, NY
Visual Arts Professional Fellowship. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond, VA
Research and Travel Grant. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Melanie McLain Resume Page 2

Queens International 2016 Catalogue, “Personal Space” by Esa Nickle, 2016.
Queens International 2016 Catalogue, “Interview:Melanie McLain and Alina Tenser” 2016.
EAF:15 2015 Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition Catalogue. Socrates Publishing. 2015
Hyperalleric, “10 Artists to Watch from 2013 Bushwick Open Studios, ” June 4, 2013 by Hrag Vartanian.
Bushwickdaily. “VCU Sculpture + 299 Meserole = Interesting Conversation,” June 2, 2013 by Kara Hybenova.
Hyperallergic, “A Bushwick Warehouse Filled with Earnest and Honest Sculpture,” June 2, 2013 by Jillian Steinhauer
Ext. 1708, “Hand in Glove, “ October 30, 2012 by Amber Esseiva.
Maisonneuve. “Pari’s Axiom,” Issue 44, Summer 2012, pg. 44 by Abou Farman
Curious, “Warm Compression – Damp Gestures,“ Issue 4, Buster, Kendall and Allen,Siemon eds. Richmond, VA: VCUarts Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, 2012