The Way of Things

The Way of Things (solo exhibition)
Harris Art Gallery
The University of La Verne, La Verne, CA
February 4-March 14, 2013

The University of La Verne Harris Art Gallery is proud to present The Way of Things, a solo exhibition by Melanie Nakaue. This multimedia installation integrates stop-motion animation, still-life portraiture and model scale sculpture to present an artificial ecology reflective of human nature.
In The Gentlest Mother 2013, one of the main video pieces in the exhibition, familiar still-life subjects are cast as active participants. A tabletop with carefully composed painterly objects – fruit, flowers and a skull – becomes a theatre stage set to an audio track of Emily Dickenson’s poem Nature the Gentlest Mother. During a two-minute animation loop, red flowers blossom and wither, ripe bananas brown and attract an insect, a scurrying mouse surveys the scene and a curious sense of ‘where exactly am I?’ pleasantly settles in. Nakaue’s homage to the practice of painting goes below the surface of her imagery; her choreographed components are fabricated from painting tape, acrylic paint and wire. In contrast to a hyper-real Dutch still-life painting – where delicious fruit and radiant flora are preserved in a suspended state of everlasting freshness, Nakaue’s animated lifecycle focuses on the fragility of beauty and the temporal nature of our existence.

-Harris Art Gallery Press Release