Mélanie Rocan completed her MFA in the painting program at Concordia University, in Montreal (2008). In 2003, she graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours Degree, thesis in painting.
"My recent paintings speak of the fragility of human beings and the reality of the subconscious state. I want to capture a distressed beauty, which suggests an inner emotional condition of highs and lows and psychological unease. There is a dichotomy between the difficulty of comprehending the reality of the internal world and a reaction to the outside world’s fragility and the present state of the earth. I rely on an intuitive process to create my paintings, which gives me freedom to explore and make discoveries. I find the struggle of creating work by intuition and memory produces a constant search to re-invent and build the work within the internal domain of my subconscious. This process also allows room for balance between my hand and the medium itself to communicate. Relying on an intuitive process to make paintings brings forth thoughts that are weighing upon me, because of a constant bombardment and awareness of the reality of the state of the earth and the world. In some of my work I attempt to show unity between humanity and nature, working together, existing as one without overpowering the other. Two worlds intertwined working collectively, agreeing and abiding by a natural contract.
I am interested in illustrating opposing forces in my work, and by unifying and combining these dualities, they can exist together as one entity, one cannot exist without the other. I want to evoke an inconsistency of emotions, making the work linger in-between a darkness and a playfulness, with the ability to affect and give sensations. For example in Caught In Hula-Hoops, there is a conflict in deciphering what is happening to the figures. They could be seen as either vulnerable beings who are caught by the mass of evocations that whirl around them or are playing in this maze of disparate objects. The contrast between the loss of control in the debris and turmoil, with a rather quiet and serene figures and setting, creates tension between calm and chaos and targets dimensions of the unconsciousness. The mass or fragments floating around them, reveal the inside and outside state of the figures, like a mirror, window or multiplication of mirrors. It explores external and personal sources and the dichotomy between symbols of the self and the environment, divided by psychological turmoil.
I often focus on gothic elements of familiar places, in finding horror or feelings of foreboding in our existence, in our memory and in living. I also merge autobiographical themes, dreams and reality. In combining nostalgic elements or familiars within the paintings, I want to convey a sense of security, which brings balance to the work. I am interested in creating a unity by combining dualities existing within the difficulties of life and nostalgic elements, which are evidence of our humanity. Nostalgia represents an uncanny timelessness, an anchor that provides us with a sense of stability, bringing us to another moment in our lives and allowing us to lose ourselves in the innocence.
I have recently found inspiration in my earlier works, combining large abstract painting with a miniaturization and an attention to detail. By bringing these techniques together on one surface, I am not only concerned with the process of painting but the balance between paint and content, and want to leave room for interpretation and suggestion. By combining these two ways of working, abstract planes and particular details, I want to create two opposing forces in the work, an indeterminacy and an over-determination of space. I often use prairie landscapes as backdrops or fields for composition in creating a painting. The environment is often overcrowded with information, not only in the elements in the painting but in the psychoanalytic sense, by emphasizing the dichotomy between reality and inner life and the psychological borders that are evoked.
The Ferris wheel is often present in my work, as is the repetition of the circle in the representations and composition of the work, which represents a structure of life. This circular composition also refers to the way our eyes and our mind sees the world. Fragments and isolation are the raw material furnished by memory, allowing the painting to be assembled and organized into larger and more substantial dramatic structures. By excluding certain elements of the outer world, such as space, time, and causality, and by adjusting the events to the forms of the inner world, I bring attention to memory, imagination and emotion. I want to focus on the complex interaction between the real and the fantastic by blurring the distinction between these elements."