Our latest ‘Artists You Need To Know’ feature is focused upon one of the finer painters in the St. Catharines / Niagara region: Melanie Macdonald. MacDonald lives in downtown St. Catharines and is an active member of the Niagara Artists Centre (NAC). Her work has been selected for exhibitions in Niagara, Hamilton, London, Kingston, Western New York and Quebec, and is in the permanent collection of the City of St. Catharines as well as Rodman Hall Art Centre (as well as numerous private collections).
MacDonald describes her work in the following manner: “I regard my paintings of domestic scenes as visual poems that mark the brief, curious moments that punctuate the everyday.” Often working with found objects that may superficially have banal tendencies, MacDonald creates paintings that employ these everyday components towards a larger narrative (as with The Great Scrapbook Project) or that, with a painterly examination and focus, shift how we ‘see’ and offer sometimes darker, or more ominous elements. In her Florida Noir series, for example, the kitschy, almost disposable trinkets so often dismissed as touristy ‘trash’ become interesting and contested motifs for memory, or manufacturing, or even how ‘landscape’ (with all the history and myths in that genre) can be encapsulated in an oft – dismissed ‘souvenir’ or mundane bit of porcelain.
Past exhibitions have been at Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Jordan Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Burlington and City of Niagara Falls Museums. A winner of a Trillium Excellence in the Arts Emerging Artist Award from the City of St. Catharines, Melanie has also been awarded numerous Ontario Arts Council – Conseil des arts de l’Ontario Exhibition Assistance grants.
You can see more of her work at her site, including some installation shots to give a more appropriate sense of her very large works, and several texts to offer more insight into her images and ideas.