Melissa Gwyn




The subjects of growth, excess and decline have been central to my work for more than twenty years. Drawing upon the opulence and detail of Netherlandish painting and the sensual materiality of Abstract Expressionism, my work explores an “embarrassment of riches” that is both visual and thematic. Decadence is core to my visual sensibility and my tendency to obsess on detail through the material potential of my medium. I often think of my father’s admonition about taking things too far, “You don’t want to gild the lily.” But, with affection for my father I contend that “gilding the lily” is exactly what makes sense to me in these times. Nature in artifice, artifice in nature, conservation, restoration, death of painting, reanimation and artificial life, it seems a gilded lily is the emblem in the back of my mind.