Melissa Meyer at the List Gallery

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

bsmeyer.jpgPhotograph of Melissa Meyer by Bruce Strong, 2003, Courtesy Bruce Strong/

Melissa Meyer, the 2007 Donald Jay Gordon Visiting Artist, gave a talk last Thursday, presenting the fruit of her forty-year (and counting) painting and drawing career. Ms. Meyer’s work has been exhibited internationally in countless shows, including forty single-artist installations. Her pieces have been displayed at such esteemed institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim. Swarthmore is now proud to show a handful of her paintings at the List Gallery, along with a companion exhibition of her sketchbooks and other works on paper at McCabe from now until September 30, 2007.

A group of Swarthmore art enthusiasts who came to Science Center 101 had the privilege of hearing Meyer give an oral history of her work, beginning with sketches of the Beatles drawn when she was in high school, through her massive murals that span the face of a sky scraper in Tokyo, mounted in 2002.

Meyers’ paintings are deliciously expressive. Viewers at the reception following Thursday’s talk were astounded by the motion and life that she is able to communicate on each canvas. “These pictures breathe. They inhale and exhale atmospheres,” says art critic Robert Storr, quoted by Andrea Packard, who introduced Ms. Meyer. The graceful swerves that ribbon across Meyer’s pieces were inspired, among other things, by her work with watercolors. They have an aqueous elegance that recalls eel-ish creatures of the deep. Her bright and harmonious color palette is sure to lift the spirits of viewers who need a quick escape from the demands of academic life.

Meredith Leich, 2008, observed, “The scale is really striking. For the List Gallery it’s really big. And the paintings are so rhythmic – they remind me of ribbon dancing.”

“I don’t think people our age get exposure to this kind of art very often,” commented Estella Baker, 2011. “It’s beautiful…it’s figurative. It’s almost like the free-flowing nature of the human body.”

Melissa Meyer’s work will be on display at the List Gallery in LPAC through September 30th. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 12pm to 5pm.

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