In March, the Elizabeth Leach Gallery is pleased to present Letters from Switzerland, an exhibition of Melody Owen’s collages, made while in residency at the Gaestatelier Krone in Aarau, Switzerland.
Through her photographs, videos, and works on paper, Melody Owen reaches out and touches, processes, and examines the objects and stories that define a specific place. A frequent participant in artist-in-residency programs, Owen demonstrates a remarkable openness, not only in the sense that she absorbs the materials, attitudes, and mythologies of each new circumstance and culture, but also in the sense that she wears her experience on her chest. For Letters from Switzerland, using the tools and media of the Swiss-originated Dadaists, Owen created a precise and strange group of collages, examining feelings of dislocation and disconnection. Featuring bisected animals spilling flowers from their guts, and hotels sprouting roots that can’t find purchase, these works allude to the deracinated experience of the contemporary traveler.
A graduate of the MFA program at Alfred University, Melody Owen has exhibited at such locations as the Royal College of Art in London, England, Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, Spoonbill and Sugartown in Brooklyn, New York, the Bellevue Art Museum in Bellevue, Washington and the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon. Owen has completed residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France, the Gil-society in Akureyri, Iceland, and the Est-Nord-Est Residency in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Canada. In 2009 she was artist-in-residence at Gaestatelier Krone in Aarau, Switzerland, funded in part by the Oregon Arts Commission.
Letters from Switzerland will be on view in conjunction with So Close to the Glass and Shivering, a major new installation by Owen at the The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, February 22 - April 9, 2010. These two exhibitions will comprise Melody Owen’s participation in Portland2010: A Biennial of Contemporary Art.