Melise Mestayer creates abstract sculptures and installations utilizing a mixture of discarded objects, natural elements, and traditional craft materials. Using organic forms and patterns derived from nature, she questions the human/environment relationship and often comments on ecological and psychological issues. Melise completed her BFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York (2007) and her MFA at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles (2011). She also graduated from New York University with a MA in Art Therapy (2017). Mestayer has received awards such as the Board of Governor’s Fellowship from Otis College of Art and Design and a Teaching Artist Fellowship through the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA.
Some of Our Favorite Things
September 30 - December 8, 2018
Ben Maltz Gallery
9045 Lincoln Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Some of Our Favorite Things is a group exhibition of favorite art-related objects—things that have been accumulated over years, mementos inherited from family, gifts from friends and strangers, beloved books, and treasured artistic tools, each contributed by invited Otis College community, including artists, curators, writers, collectors, and cultural influencers. Each of these objects is accompanied by a description written by the lender, offering context to the work and the individual lending it. This exhibition is an exercise in storytelling, a glimpse into Otis College's far-reaching network of friends, alumni, and art world colleagues—a mapping of our multi-faceted community, as well as the great city of Los Angeles.
Works In Progress
March 9 - 19, 2016
34 Stuyvesant Street
New York, NY 10003
New York University Graduate Art Therapy Exhibition featuring artists: Asli Arslanbek, Rawan Bajsair, Caroline Cheek, Kathy Digiacomo, Marian ElHalawani,Maria Flores, Lucia Hernandez, Joey Korein, Angie McCorckle Melise Mestayer, Grace Noh, So Yeon Park, Jaili Rios, Maya Sakellaridis, Tania Stearns, Anna Stewart, Melissa Ulloa, Jael Weinberg, Laura Wilbourn, and Ann Yi.
Mine: Take What's Yours
January 15 - February 24, 2013
238 West 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
The exhibition investigates the widespread obsession with gold— visually, economically, and socially—in its many capacities.The artists featured in “Mine: Take What’s Yours” use the color and medium to explore the intoxicating and illusory character of this mesmerizing substance. Drawing upon the rich symbolism of gold, they consider themes of the material and the immaterial—from commoditization to mysticism—while reinvigorating the traditions of gilding, gold leaf, and gold plating.
“The idea for the show came up while joking about all the ‘We Buy Gold’ places popping up,” says UNDERLINE Director Casey Burry. “In a fluctuating economy, gold is the constant benchmark for currency, commodity, and culture.”
The curatorial style of handling gold as a currency relates to the artist and craftsperson’s manipulation of it as a medium. From gold- plated taxonomy to powder-coated steel shot with bullet holes, the collection of work underscores the malleability of the element. Additionally, the artists play with the virtually unattainable ideal of prosperity in its most material sense. From the golden statuary of Egypt and the gilded façade of Versailles to the American Gold Rush, gold has signified, across cultures, the consummate extremes of opulence and authority.
However, beyond its financial significance, the metal—with its glistening allure and chemically inert properties—also represents a state of divine beauty and stability that transcends the constant flux of everyday life. At once, the metal signifies the tangible and the intangible, reflecting all the reality and illusions that come with wealth.
Marsha Owett, Domenica Bucalo, Livia Marin, Christian Balzano, Margaret Evangeline, Rikka Latva-Somppi, Julia Hechtman, Ellie Pyle, Melise Mestayer, Alisha Gould, Michael Cole, Kee-Ho Yuen, Stefan Hengst, and Caroll Taveras
'Reef Cycle' on Visual Art Source
Melise Mestayer confronts the modern dilemma of consumer indulgence and the decline of the surrounding environment in her piece, Reef Cycle. In this sculpture, Mestayer represents the dying coral reef through a series of arranged toilet paper rolls illustrating mass consumption, deterioration, and
the exhaustibility of objects we deem necessary. The materials in her work are chosen for their reusable organic structure and “trajectory,” or lifespan of thepiece, which are available in her immediate vicinity. Because these objects are tactfully impermanent, Mestayer refers to them as a “work-in-progress,” ratherthan a completed piece. After one lifetime is exhausted, she attempts to revive and reuse her material as thoroughly as possible giving the everyday object alife and death cycle paralleled to the subject she portrays.
Written by Isabelle Lutterodt
October 28, 2012 - January 4, 2013
Angels Gate Cultural Center
3601 South Gaffey Street
San Pedro, California 90731
About the Exhibition:
Living during a time of heightened eco-awareness, one must question how their own consumer indulgences aid in the decline of their surrounding environment. In my current project, titled Reef Cycle, I am collecting the toilet paper and paper towel rolls I personally use over a six-month period and am transforming these brown cylinders into a sculptural coral reef. Due to the location of the exhibition, San Pedro, CA, I chose to reference the current dilemma of dying coral and the bleaching reefs in the Pacific Ocean. Knowing the material itself would never survive in these conditions, I utilize the cardboard rolls to portray something that exists submerged in saltwater. These sculptures are created entirely from recyclable materials (including the water-soluble adhesives), and they will be broken down at the end of the project. The objective of this endeavor is to shed light on how much material a single person consumes when it's considered a necessity and the impact that can have, both environmentally and visually.
Investigating notions of value and permanence, I utilize primarily found materials to create artworks that evoke natural forms. These artworks not only employ imagery from the organic world, but they also have a trajectory, or lifespan, that mimics all things found in nature. Being resourceful, I use what materials are available in my immediate environment towards creating a new object or installation; often a medium is chosen for its ephemeral quality. External perimeters (such as size constraint, time limit, or material use) are set in place to provide a structure to create the artwork. With this type of artistic practice, the idea and object are developed in tandem with both parts playing an equally critical role.
While art can be used as a way of making a mark beyond your time, I am not striving to establish permanence with this project, but rather engaged with the work-in-progress. Even when the artwork is exhausted, I try to revive the materials into something useful or break them down to be regenerated; and, as a result, my creations endure a life and death cycle similar to the subjects that are portrayed.
Written by Melise Mestayer
'Reef Cycle' on Visual Art Source
Melise Mestayer confronts the modern dilemma of consumer indulgence and the decline of the surrounding environment in her piece, Reef Cycle. In this sculpture, Mestayer represents the dying coral reef through a series of arranged toilet paper rolls illustrating mass consumption, deterioration, and the exhaustibility of objects we deem necessary. The materials in her work are chosen for their reusable organic structure and “trajectory,” or lifespan of the piece, which are available in her immediate vicinity. Because these objects are tactfully impermanent, Mestayer refers to them as a “work-in-progress,” rather than a completed piece. After one lifetime is exhausted, she attempts to revive and reuse her material as thoroughly as possible giving the everyday object a life and death cycle paralleled to the subject she portrays.
Written by Isabelle Lutterodt
Chasm of the Supernova
February 11 - March 15, 2012
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
2225 Colorado Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Curated by Adam D. Miller
About the Exhibition:
Chasm of the Supernova will feature works by fifteen Los Angeles based artists. When larger stars die they end their lives with a catastrophic supernova, one of the brightest and most powerful events in the universe. After the violent destructive phenomenon subsides, a neutron star or a black hole will remain where the star previously inhabited. This celestial act of death can be viewed as a catalyst for an eternal void which is the black hole, but also acts as the impetus for the most vibrant and dramatic action in the known universe. Similar to the supernova, the artist’s chosen for this exhibition make highly refined and articulated gestures that lead the audience to a confrontation with a moment of instability; harmony and chaos abound in these pieces. The exhibition can be divided into two parts; the Explosive and the Speculative.
A couple of the artists that represent the Speculative standpoint of the exhibition are Erich Bollman and Brad Spence, whom produce works from a ruminative stand point. These works are as concerned with formal properties such as relationships of materials, perception, and cultural implications of their chosen subject matter without crossing into the gestural. These are contemplative works; they deliberate on physical, sociological, and metaphysical relationships through a highly articulated mode of representation with an emphasis on materials and craft.
On the Explosive slant, a few of the artists chosen for the exhibition are Roger Herman, Tomory Dodge, Annie Lapin, and Ali Smith all of whom create works teaming with emotive expressive compositions and mark making. These artists use their materials as a method for creating highly charged and chaotic moments which lead to heightened junctures of beauty found within their chaotic compositions.
The exhibition Chasm of the Supernova takes fifteen artists and exams the implications of discordance between energetic entropy and restraint. Half of the works are reflexive ruminations on the chaotic and disruptive forces that inundate the individual’s turbulent path. While the rest of the works use gesture, color, and mark making to create anarchic compositions. Through refined, calculated, and controlled gestures, whether it’s application of paint, color choices, compositions, or pop cultural references, all of these works lead to moments of reflection and beauty among the chaos.
Written by Adam D. Miller
Matthew Monahan, Tomory Dodge, Michael Rey, Pearl C. Hsiung
Brad Spence, lara Schnitger, Roger Herman, Erich Bollmann, Annie Lapin, Kim Fisher, Josh Peters, Melise Mestayer, Ali Smith, Florian Morlat, Devon Oder, & Adam Miller.
Greater Los Angeles Master of Fine Arts Exhibition
August 29 - September 4, 2011
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90840
"In the Werby gallery, Masood Kamandy's "Unspoken Portrait" draws attention as the only live-action portrait in the gallery that demonstrates the art of editing or "cutting" with the interpretation of an image if it lacks verbal communication.
Kamandy's subject is a young woman, dressed in an old-fashioned, maid-inspired dress, speaking directly to the person behind the camera. As if she is telling a story, the woman speaks continuously, but in a way that the listener can't really understand what she is saying. The artist's role as editor of the video portrait is evident because though inaudible sounds, a viewer can make out the beginning and endings of words. The young woman is experiencing a series of emotions in the video, from talkative and joyous to pensive and flustered, while telling the cameraman a story that would later be edited and cut. After eight minutes of looped words and gibberish, viewers can become pensive and flustered as well.
"The girl looked like someone trying to get her point across but was having trouble or no means of communication," said Monique Nicholson, sophomore communicative disorders major. "I can almost relate [to her]. She [seems] suppressed by her speech disability or by people that are looking down at her."
Kamandy edited out all of the words but left the thoughtful pauses, "umms", giggles and murmurs the young woman offers, completely unedited. The cutting of the video suggests that there is no rush for the woman to get her point across. This leaves viewers to wonder and even assume that she is a representation of a suppressed and disabled person.
She stretches, fidgets and yawns, looks up and around but says nothing. The overly-edited video is an example of the many ways an image can be interpreted if you remove all verbal communication and leave the viewer to assume. The video continues in a
half-spoken conversation between the girl and the person behind the camera, and suggests the question of "What is her point?"
By altering the words in the video, Kamandy forces the viewer to pay attention to the emotion and the body language of his subject. Ultimately, Kamandy's "Unspoken Portrait" makes viewers impatient for the girl to say what she wants to say.
Directly across from Kamandy's curious video is Melise Mestayer's detailed and colorful "Gummy Brain". Made of gummy worms, hot glue, chicken wire and plaster, the gummy brain is one of the most appealing attractions in the Werby gallery.
"It looked like the most vibrant piece in the room to me," said Raven Sherman, junior photography major. "It kind of resembled a brain turning to mush."
The gummy worm brain has viewers circling around it, admiring how detailed and crisp a sculpture of a brain could be with the use of gummy worms as the primary medium. The gummy brain sculpture allows people to take a look at something very similar to an actual brain — minus the real cerebral tissue and the rest of one's body content.
Written by Leslie Compos for the Daily 49er on Sept 7, 2011