Melissa Wilkinson received a BFA from Western Illinois University in 2002 and an MFA from Southern Illinois University four years later.
Her latest series of paintings focuses on the aftermath of disasters, manmade and natural alike. Each image is based on either photographs she herself has taken or Google image search results. Her reference material is archived and each one manipulated using digital collage techniques, before she paints the final piece. The resulting art is neither abstract nor representative, but rather a dialogue with modernist painting through postmodern practice.
This series could be classed within the tradition of the sublime landscape, framed by a contemporary context of anxiety and fear. ‘I am both drawn to these images and repelled by them. They speak of a time where agenda setting, political rhetoric and consumption are perpetuated and often manufactured by the media,’ she says. ‘Mass media sets the psychological and emotional tone for life as we know it, so I attempt to differentiate between my own neurosis and understanding reality.’
Wilkinson’s work has been awarded numerous grants and student prizes and exhibited extensively across the United States.