FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mel Prest: Sky Black Ray
March 25 – May 2, 2009
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 2, 5-7:30 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30-5:30 PM
Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to present "Sky Black Ray," a collection of new works by San Francisco-based artist, Mel Prest. The exhibit reestablishes Prest's interest in the creation of structure-spaces, manufactured by the charting and projection of language, light, and sound.
Prest's new works evoke a certain synesthetic quality that utilizes all the senses to produce a particular emotion or ambience. The works include several dark line paintings: dense networks of colored horizontal and vertical bands. The delicate markings, limited color palette, and economy of elements suggest the simplicity and meditative landscapes of abstract expressionists such as Agnes Martin.
Inspired by jazz singer Billie Holiday's Lady in Satin album, the show also features a series of eight works on paper, presented in a grid. In this series, Prest has devised a complex translational system of song into drawing, in which each song is "spelled" letter by letter in gouache, utilizing dots on a grid that correspond to specific letters of the alphabet. For each drawing, Prest has extracted a specific word that offers emotional resonance, and has emphasized it with a dissonant or incongruous color. Prest explains, "I isolate a word with color, not only for its meaning, but also its shape, structure, how often it's used." The depth and shadow of Prest's backdrops also evoke the melancholy and pining of Holiday's sound, but the mapping of rhythm and lyric in a physical space is meant as a general embodiment of the song rather than a literal interpretation.
"Sky Black Ray" refers to a series of concepts that Prest explores in her new body of work: a space of openness that is both empty and full (sky); the darkness and mystery that constitute the center or focal point of the work (black); and the fluctuating fields of lines beginning at one point but radiating out into infinity (ray). The colors themselves, as responses to the cadences and topographies of the sensory world, are experienced as deep, interior fields that undergo subtle changes as they are observed. Prest's works present perceptual puzzles that insist our eyes focus and refocus continuously. Her structures are understated and subtle, offering a range of possible shapes and unique interpretations.
Mel Prest received her MFA from Mills College, and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her recent exhibitions include; "The Space Between" at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, CA; "Touch" at Bus-Dori, Tokyo, Japan; and "TRANSformal" at Pharmaka, Los Angeles, CA. Her stop-motion animation, Immigrant Song, will travel with "Stop & Go," a curated show of artist-made stop-motion films, to San Francisco's Exploratorium and other venues. Prest has been featured in Artweek, Art Papers, San Francisco Chronicle, and New American Painting. This is her third solo exhibition with Gregory Lind Gallery. She lives and works in San Francisco.