peace bridge: mixed media works by Melora Griffis

4 June - 31 July 2021

571 Projects is pleased to present peace bridge, an exhibition of new mixed media works by accomplished artist Melora Griffis. This is the artist's fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, and her third in Vermont. Executed in the fraught days heightened by anxiety around a global pandemic and social justice issues, Griffis' work obliquely alludes to a possible joining and mending of divisions. The exhibition takes cues from a structure that links the United States and Canada, a crossing which holds childhood memories for the artist who grew up in Buffalo, NY, and grounds her exploration in reflection, boundaries, symbolism and connection. Peace Bridge is also the title of a magisterial, large scale mixed media work created for the exhibition, and it is supported by a selection of smaller mixed media works including paintings on tree trunk slices. The exhibition will be on view June 4 through July 31 at 571 Projects, 56 Park Street, Stowe, Vermont. The gallery will host an Open House on June 4th, 11a - 7p, and on July 9 the artist will be present in person to give a talk. 


Moving beyond specificity of place and diving into the rich metaphorical significance of a bridge, peace bridge (2021, acrylic, fabric, glitter and thread on muslin, 56 x 72 inches) sets the tone for this selection of new work. Frequently working across media, and creating dimensionality with pieces of fabric hand stitched to the painted surfaces, Griffis' work delves into memory, and she creates a compellingly complex rich psychological narrative using unconventional methodology with her choices around composition, color and materials. Her playful alliance with the metaphoric implications of form and texture is strewn across this selection of work on view, which invite slow contemplation, a kind of reveling in their powerful, off-kilter beauty. In contrast to the scale of peace bridge, sons and mothers (2021, mixed media on vintage pillowcase, 20 x 16 inches) is an intimate work that evokes the feeling of a family snap shot. Figures pose together, while the palette tilts toward the past, undomesticated hand stitching defines the figures' clothing as well as the luxuriant green of vegetation, highlighted with a sparkle of golden glitter in what becomes a kind of sculptural painting where the scene moves slightly closer to the viewer-curiously coming alive. The artist states, "In mending disparate parts with hand stitching, the painting is vulnerable to puncture, imperfection, and wrinkles, exposing a fraught journey in the process of making, and a legitimate sovereign new land is recognized." Other works, executed on slices of tree limbs, use the literal history of the tree - the many rings of its life - as a support, the pigments obscuring the surface while revealing painted memories. Griffis' distinctively poignant works are an invitation to enter into consistently vivid, sublime, surreal and at times, uncanny worlds.


Born in New York City, Griffis received her BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts (Montpelier, VT). She has had solo exhibitions at the Pamela Williams Gallery (Amagansett, NY), Lizan Tops Gallery and AE Gallery (both East Hampton, NY), Whitney Art Works (Greenport, NY), The Re Institute (Millerton, NY) and 571 Projects (New York, NY). Her work has been included in group shows at Ethan Cohen Fine Art, (New York, NY) Edward Thorp Gallery (New York, NY), White Columns (New York, NY), Bowman/Bloom Gallery (New York, NY), Michael Steinberg (New York, NY), Silas Marder (Bridgehampton, NY), Ille Arts, (Amagansett, NY), Sara Nightingale Gallery, (Sag Harbor, NY) and Boltax Gallery (Shelter Island, NY) among others. Griffis has received fellowships from Le Moulin à Nef (Auvillar, France), Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus (Schwandorf, Germany), the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, (Ithaca, NY), Schloss Pluschow (Mecklenberg-Vorpommern, Germany), The Edward F. Albee Foundation (Montauk, NY) and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (Amherst, VA). Melora Griffis lives and works in New York City.