Joyce Melander-Dayton’s Pattern Language
While the title of Santa Fe artist Joyce Melander-Daytons show that closes March 29th at June Kelly Gallery in New York reads Extravagant Constructions- an homage in one adjective to her intricately bejeweled craftsmanship and patterning ““ it just as easily have been called, Music in Motion, Celestial Compositions, or How I Keep My Life Together. For the exhibition is all of this and more, a vivid pattern focus on seeing, specifically.
This is the follow-up show to a series of back-to-back exhibits that begin in Santa Fe in 2007, with Melander-Daytons show at Aaron Payne Fine Arts. The run continued to Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, and now the June Kelly Gallery. Four years ago, the artist, previously known as a figurative painter, presented her abstract collages of fabric and fiber-based ornamental elements on linen. At last years retrospective at the Rymer Gallery in Nashville, Tennessee, the artists free-standing abstract sculptures put in an unexpected appearance. In yet another “new works” exhibition last summer at Aaron Payne, it was Melander-Daytons 3D wall hangings, composed of exotic wood veneers, wool, silk fabrics, and glass beads that took me by surprise.
Photos (3): Wendy McEahern. Detail Photos (3): Jean Kallina
Rondo (2010), is made of 40 modules of varying sizes, stretching nearly 9 feet and representing a mountain steam whose clear running waters cover a bed of stones. The shimmering stones in this exhibition are intensely colored glass beads; the river is lengths of wool, woven onto blue fabric and arranged in a horizontal bubble-like flow. The work hung across the intersection of two walls forces our eyes to jump from one wall to the other, effectively evoking thoughts of motion in water.
A simpler work is Archipelago (2010). The artist revisits Okinawa ““ a chain of islands off the coast of Japan ““ where she lived for two years in childhood. In Ryukyu Rain (2010), one of the exhibitions smaller, statelier works ““ Ryukyu is also part of a chain of islands in the Western Pacific that sustained a 7.0 earthquake on February 25 ““ Melander-Dayton decorates four green willow veneer modules with her customary silk fabrics, beads, and wool.
Yet there is also heat here as well as cooling. Allegro Non Troppo (2008), by virtue of its size – Nearly two feet high, and 10 feet long – sports 42 variously shaped eye-popping, red, black and white circles in over a dozen differing designs. The overall effect is fireworks.
Theme and Variations (2010) is a whole different kettle of flares. While all of the other works on view are thin enough to underscore the flatness of each module, each of the nine, vertically hung, oval-shaped wall sculptures in Theme and Variations, with depths ranging from 2 to 10 inches, jump right off the wall, which leads to a whole different viewing experience. The almost, but not quite, 2-Dimensional components of Melander-Daytons other works which allows one to view its many components as a whole, is ditched in this multi-faceted ensemble. Here due to the variance of depth, as well as the unique design of each sculpture ““ at certain angles the sculptures resembles cakes, at others, sewing kits or small hat boxes ““ the eye has no one flat surface on which to rest or come to a conclusion. As our eyes are forced to scan each work, up, down, and sideways, our brain is forced look and see, one by one, what it is that we are looking at. It is an exciting situation to be in, as well as a puzzle to be solved.