“For some artists, such as Melissa Wood, referencing the partial nature of our vision through her collaged paintings is a way of showing how human perception shifts and changes over time. An exhibit of her work, titled Flora, Fauna & Other Companions, is on display at the Pence Gallery from June 10- August 14. The bits of her world are fragmentary: a illustration of a turtle, a fig leaf gorgeously outlined in blue. They take a bit of time to uncover, as Wood’s sense of color is seductive, so that you only later discover her inclusion of animal and plant life. She is a great observer, as many artists are, of things in nature, thus small creatures such as butterflies, snails, frogs, and even fish, abound. Her interest in observation extends to architecture, as she loves to photograph architectural elements such as windows, arches, or doors that invite the viewer into them.
Her paintings are enigmatic, because their individual collaged elements are such common objects or natural forms. Yet Wood mixes them, linking them with layers of glowing oil paint and pastel markings, so the object is part of a larger story, about our memories, and how we attach significance to an animal or place.
Equally compelling is Wood's use of found objects, arranged within antique boxes, that are juxtaposed with natural objects and random treasures. I feel a certain youthful delight at peeking inside one of her sculptural boxes, with its quiet language of the forgotten, the discovered, and the naturally marvelous. ”
-Natalie Nelson, 2011, Director
“The Davis Art Center was thrilled to exhibit her work “Hive” in the fall of 2006. …The exhibit was outstanding and highly original. Its scope included working drawings, photographs of bee hives, work on canvas, sculptural work using wax, wire and photography and assemblage pieces. She paid special attention to our needs as an educational center in the community, thoughtfully installing related information about her work and concept throughout the exhibit."
-Jackie Stephens 2007, Executive Director
Davis Art Center
“Your interactive “Story Blocks” were received with much enthusiasm by our museum visitors. The final results of your panels and the “Story Blocks” were stunning. The execution of your ideas was well planned, thoughtful yet spontaneous and playful…. You transformed both the Legion of Honor and the de Young Art Center into dynamic spaces which invited our visitors to seek out information on your artistic process.”
-Reneé M. Baldocchi, 2004, Coordinator, Public Programs
Education Department, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
San Francisco, California
“Melissa Wood questions conscious understanding as well: the gestural brushwork and collaged elements in Brown Turtle #6 imply subtle connections between nature and self that elude verbalization, revealing themselves slowly and only to the attentive viewer.”
‘Introductions South’ at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
ArtWeek, October 2003
“She brings a welcoming attitude to the unexpected behavior of inks and papers that gives chance occurrences the feeling of inevitability….Though her debt to abstractionists as far back as Kandinsky is evident, her work is fresh and original.”
-David John Brown,
"Prints by Melissa Wood; A Mind Prepared for Chance”,
The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, Vol. 3, #4, Summer 1982