Mindy Solomon is pleased to present Shadow Weaving, the second solo exhibition by Tel Aviv based artist Melanie Daniel. Gestural, magical and multi-layered, this exhibition highlights Daniel’s continued investigation of the natural world.
Melanie Daniel has learned to show how otherworldly this world can be. In quilted landscapes of pine forests and sylvan ponds, she conveys a fellowship with nature. These dynamic, shape-shifting environments propose an animistic, interconnected world that is revelatory and mysterious, with each painting in pursuit of a new understanding. Motifs of ghostly figures, butterflies, owls, trees, and ponds, depicted in expressive colors, patterned brushstrokes and decisive lines, assemble on the canvas in patches of light and pulsing shadows.
In her practice, Daniel excels at defying traditional narrative frameworks, achieved through the use of dense mark-making, the melding of abstraction and figuration, and by deploying unnatural color combinations activated through thin color fields and buttery strokes. Shadow Weaving is her second solo exhibition with Mindy Solomon Gallery, and the compositions feel as though they were pulled from a dream or an alternate world. Daniel draws us into a unique domain through an act of hope and restoration; communion with nature as a balm for an ailing civilization. These landscapes cast doubt on the myth of human specialness and superiority to nature through a suggested reengagement with animate Earth. Daniel asserts the idea that our very survival and humanity depends on a synchronization with the sensuous world, reconnecting our cadence with the rhythms of other animals, flora, earth and sky.
As seen in the artist’s previous work, the lone figure camouflaged amidst a disorienting backdrop returns in such paintings as Shaman. Fluid contours of trees and wild networks of branches in moody violet hues contrast with the patchwork zones of dots, lines, and zigzags. Flanked by white owls, the silent shaman observes us intently. This is a landscape that relates to an earth-based wisdom, femininity, and the fact that humans are not separate from nature, but instead, a part of it. Likewise, in Sister and Brother Coyotes, the trees magically cast solid coyote shapes over a hillside. In the history of painting, the shadow was introduced in order to bring a sense of three- dimensionality to a two-dimensional space. Daniel cleverly subverts this notion by depicting it as a substantial form; the solitary individual encounters her shadow like the weight of her unconscious self as described in Jungian psychology.
Shadow Weaving alludes to a creation of something that is fugitive, perpetually shifting or fleeting. By painting hallucinatory storylines just beyond reach, Daniel builds a sense of the magical that is both strange and recognizable, leaving room for the viewer to determine their own parallels and associations. By subverting the narrative impulse of figuration and undermining familiar tropes of landscape painting, Daniel makes work that she describes as “intimations of what lies beyond the boundaries of the self” –they begin as highly subjective meditations that transform into unsentimental, imaginative worlds that come alive at the edges of our perception. The exhibition successfully creates glimpses into liminal spaces, offering another way to look more closely at flora- fauna-human relationships.
About Melanie Daniel
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, Melanie Daniel is currently working in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel. Daniel’s psychedelic, unnatural palette, dense areas of vibrating pattern, and skewed perspectives underscore an uncanny relationship between the subjects and their environment. Drawing heavily from the Canadian landscape and her great appetite for the history and language of painting, the landscapes are interjected with areas of delicate stains and washes contrasted with passages of abstract impasto and intricate patterns to achieve a buzzing visual ecosystem. Daniel’s big and strangely beautiful works are cautionary yet hopeful. They show the power of nature, as plants and flowers intermingle with specters and shadows, and threaten to overrun the canvas and envelop the human presence.
After studies in Canada, Melanie Daniel completed her BFA and MFA at Bezalel Academy, Israel. Daniel has had numerous exhibitions internationally, including solo exhibitions at Asya Geisberg Gallery, NY, Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, Galleri Christoffer Egelund, Copenhagen, Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv, Ashod Museum of Art, Israel, Shulamit Gallery, Los Angeles, Kelowna Art Gallery, BC, and Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, among others. Her work is included in collections such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Harvard Business School, and the Brandes Family Art Collection. She has received press in publications such as Border Crossings Magazine, Young Space New York, Maake Magazine, Artnet, Newsweek, Frieze, Haaretz, CBC/Radio Canada, The Huffington Post, Beautiful Decay, and the Artists Magazine. Daniel is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, the 2009 Rappaport Prize for a Young Israeli Painter, a Creative Capital Grant, and the NARS Foundation Residency in New York City. In 2020 she completed a position as the Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Grand Valley State University, MI.