NEW YORK, NY.- Robert Melee's four new, oversized, figurative sculptures in City Hall Park seem familiar in their generalized characteristics and poses, but also exude a haunting sense of disguise through their amorphous features. To construct these commanding forms, Melee starts with mannequins to establish the basic human figure, and then works to blur recognizable details with abstract forms by covering most of the features with canvas and plaster. He then casts the sculptures in bronze and employs his signature painting technique called "marbleizing," an obsessively exaggerated interpretation of classic marbleizing, in which he drips and splatters the sculptures with brightly colored enamel paint. The results are works of art that unite formal characteristics of painting and sculpture.
These sculptures may be viewed as suggestive of different stages of life from infant to child to adult as supported by their titles, It Sitting, It Standing, It Up and Her Leaving. The artist's choice of "It" in the titles refers to a non gender-specific figurative form and reminds us that the works are, in fact, generic featureless masses.
Robert Melee is known for producing works of art that explore human behavior and psychology. Throughout his career, which began in the early '90s, he has focused his attention on interaction and relationships as seen through characters, both real and invented in his film, photography and performances. Melee began creating figurative sculpture in 2005, and these four outdoor bronze sculptures, presented together for the first time, represent some of his most recent work and mark the 30th anniversary of Public Art Fund's temporary exhibitions in City Hall Park.
Robert Melee was born in 1966 and lives and works in both New York and New Jersey. He has shown his work extensively in the United States and abroad and has had recent solo shows at Ingalls & Associates, Miami (2006); The Kitchen, New York (2006); Sutton Lane Gallery, London (2005); Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee (2004); White Columns, New York (2003); Corcoran Museum, Washington D.C. (2001); and Jay Jopling / White Cube, London (2000). His work has been included in group exhibitions at Mireille Mosler, Ltd. New York (2008); Comme il Faut Gallery, Tel Aviv (2008); Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York (2007), and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Museum, Long Island City (2005).