Past Exhibition dates: June 27, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Artist: Melissa Muller
For artist and community advocate Melissa Muller, finding more time to pursue her passions is one of the greatest silver linings during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, Melissa would juggle attending committee meetings, compiling board recaps, and implementing public art projects. Her schedule of managing arts initiatives, a full-time graphic design position, family and a ceramics studio left too little time for creative exploration.
With 2020 came a new forced perspective for Melissa on creative space and time. Many days were spent working in her studio creating ceramic wares, as well as grand sculptural pieces that reflect on letting go. Letting go referring to old habits, systems for design that were comfortable but worn and letting go of safe and easy paths. This exhibit features those stoneware vessels that, by nature, hold things. Figuratively, holding onto security. The expressive gestures in glaze and shape demonstrate Melissa’s desire to let go of the easy, comfortable path for more risky and messy processes, both in art and in life.
With designing ceramic dishware comes a deep love for the culinary arts. Before the safer-at-home order, Melissa and her husband would host chef-inspired dinners at her house with Chef Jamie Ohland. Craving the togetherness that a shared meal can offer, Melissa and Chef Ohland would partner to curate inspired recipes. The inspired dishes can be found on Melissa’s website along with ceramic pieces that reflect her reverence of a simple aesthetic. She enjoys making artwork for those who like to welcome the earth to their table and into their homes. Her pieces are substantial. They are glazed in earth tones and feel like the materials they are made from.
Melissa’s pandemic silver lining is sweet, down to her recent decision to pursue a career change in grant writing and fund development for new public art and equity projects. Melissa’s path began at the School of the Art Institute with painting and ceramics, detoured in non-profit arts and community building but longed for messy ceramics as a final destination.
You can find Melissa Muller’s work represented at Olson House in Shorewood or visit melissajmuller.com.