In her first solo exhibition at the Stigter van Doesburg Gallery, Melissa Gordon (Cambridge, MA, USA, 1981) continues with her Female Readymade series investigating the ambiguity and elusiveness of the concepts related to artworks and the voices and bodies behind them. Resistances as an exhibition is a continuation of her fascination with the notion of authorship and valuation looked at through the fascinating lens of feminist interruptions; women are not here to be muses, they’re here to interrupt.
For many years the artist has been making paintings focusing on surfaces, exploring the stories, bodies, and context behind the perceptible work. With questions like ‘What and who is left out of history and why?’ or ‘Who gets to speak?’ she resumes her artistic investigation of gender, perspective, and feminism; the topics that, no matter how often discussed, are still not acknowledged enough, and the concepts that are, like Gordon’s practice, inherently ‘in progress’.
Within the fixed space of the gallery multiple walls are erected - be it a brick wall, a chain-link fence or a safety mesh, the artist silkscreens these physical borders onto the paintings. That way, the limits of actual spaces are brought into the conversation through the paintings and the elements that are a part of them. The viewer is placed in the middle of an ongoing investigation, finding clues in things like letters, hooks, handles, pieces of clothing, and mythological monsters, all used and applied in a different manner, referring to other gestures made in her previous work.
The common thread of the latest exhibition, resistance, can be a state of mind, an ability, an act, or a property. While it represents many different things, it is never passive. It’s in its nature to speak (up) and, like Gordon’s work, it questions, inspects, and explores. Resistance also isn’t truly independent for it always consists of two: a resistor and the thing it is resisting, which indicates that it exists in relation to something. By combining various techniques such as silkscreen, photography, painting, and the use of (found) objects into a kind of ‘forensic collages’ the artist questions the seeming rock-solid state of history, knowledge, and the concept of canon, using the accidental and forgotten components to introduce different, perhaps less present angles the issues into the conversation. Everything existing has a network of factors influencing it and by bringing those to the front, Gordon gives space and voice to the forgotten, accidental, and marginalized.
Melissa Gordon is an artist born in Cambridge, US and currently based in Brussels. She received her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, continued her education at the Cooper Union School of Art in 2002 and completed her post-graduate studies at De Ateliers in Amsterdam in 2005. She has exhibited both in Europe and US with the most notable shows at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, Vleeshal, Middelburg, Wiels, Brussels, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. She is currently a professor of painting at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.