7" x 10" (unframed), watercolor and pastel collaged on paper, 2019
Place-based reflection and meditative studies of botanical and marine lifeforms are at the heart of my approach to drawing and painting. The progressive acts of labor in the structure of coral, mollusc shells, and ferns remind me of the repeated pulse of mothering and renewal.
I create places to float with, to surrender to - healing reservoirs, deep sea gardens. Somewhere between seductive color washes and linework, and an impenetrable surface is an invitation to be suspended in a new space.
The rigorously decorative world in my paintings is inspired by 15th and 16th century mille-fleur tapestries, Persian manuscripts, and Renaissance ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ or ‘Wonder Rooms’. I create subtle biological impossibilities - succulents growing alongside shade-loving ferns and corals in the deep sea - in the same way ‘Wonder Rooms’ acted as a microcosm or memory theater. Lush and inviting, these spaces reimagine the natural world, highlight and celebrate diversity - and create immersive and contemplative spaces of respite.
Born in Danbury, CT, Melissa Desmond Mohammadi currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. She earned a BFA with a concentration in painting and printmaking from Rhode Island College (Providence, RI) and an MFA from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX). She has enjoyed the generous support of awards including Meadows Scholarship Award, the Cerrino Fellowship, and the Rigsby Grant.