Art meets craft in Melinda Rosenberg’s upcoming show featuring sculptural wall pieces made out of a variety of wood materials. “Found and Made” opens at Tansey Contemporary on August 4.
“Collecting the materials has become a community effort,” explains Rosenberg, who uses everything from old wooden chairs to croquet mallets in her pieces and often scours beaches, flea markets and parking lots in search of the right stuff. “My friends have saved shutters when remodeling. I have approached farmers with dilapidated barns and asked for wood. My sister-in-law on Cape Cod has helped me bundle up large boxes of driftwood to ship home.”
Rosenberg loves how wood holds the memory of its growth within its grain. Once she finds wood with the right grain, she tries to highlight the nature of the wood as she constructs her pieces.
“When weathered wood reveals grain and appears soft and decayed, I am embracing age,” she says. “When a peeling chair reveals layers of different colored paint, the history of that chair becomes a part of my work.”
Rosenberg works in response to her materials, although she figures out the structure of a piece, usually through a model, before starting it. “I often will put several layers of paint on a piece of wood, sand through it and stain it with dyes prior to beginning a piece,” she adds. “I am then able to intuitively select between colored and textured, found and new elements when designing a piece.”
Sculptures in the show come from several of Rosenberg’s series including the “Boat Series,” the “Stick Series” and the “Unfolding Series,” her most recent body of work exploring how painting and sculpture interact with each other.
“I find that distinctions between sculpture and painting are blurred,” she says about her latest pieces. “But there’s a more primal, emotional quality to the combination of natural and painted surfaces. Perhaps it is a conversation through time, or history, as often the sculptural element is old and painted part is new.”