Melissa Louise Parhm Profile Photo

Melissa Louise Parhm

Mill Valley, CA

MELISSA PARHM | Artist Statement Upturned Roots, Silverpoint and Graphite on Prepared Panels, 2018-2019 The silverpoint drawings are inspired by our trees and the elements of water and fire. My artistic process involves extended periods of observation as a practice of honoring the elements. My current work reflects the California droughts and fires. Luminosity and unseen communication drive my artistic process. The elements—earth, air, fire, water, and space-—are my muses. I create from a place of stillness and allow my work to develop organically. My recent project depicts the upturned roots of a tree in Kenwood, California. I have been drawn to this tree for years. After the 2017 Sonoma and Napa County fires, I searched to see if this tree was still intact as it lay. I felt it calling me to pay attention to it. I saw the universe contained in this tree. In the winter of 2018, I began preparations and commissioned a carpenter to cut 16 wooden panels. The intention and work of preparing a panel is as important as drawing in my artmaking. I chose to work in graphite and silverpoint. The panels are very luminous, I have built up many layers of ground, and thus the light is able to bounce through them, this interplay with the silver that is on the surface of the panel creates the illusion of a three dimensional, sculptural effect. The sun’s rays shifting on the panel’s surface results in an image that is ever-changing. New forms emerge and dissolve. Working in silverpoint connects me to the lineage of artists I am influenced by, such as Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Jan Van Eyck, and Albrecht Durer worked in silverpoint in the ages before graphite was discovered and mined. Silver is sustainable. In my creative process, slowing down, flexibility and being open to present experience is key.

De Young Open Exhibition- Selected!

MELISSA PARHM | About the Artist
I am excited to announce that my work, “Upturned Roots”, 50” x 66” x1” , Silverpoint on
Handmade Panels, was selected to be shown at the De Young Museum of Art in
#ThedeYoungOpen,an exhibition featuring Bay Area artists that will open shortly after the
@deyoungmuseum reopens.
This pandemic has led me to engage in volunteer and community work during this time. I have
been asked to paint murals in San Francisco in the Presidio Field Hospital that is being set up
for this Covid 19 crisis.
This summer I have painted 6 murals for The New Village School also, with aspirations that the children will be returning to their classrooms.
Classically trained in the United States (MFA, Savannah College of Art and Design University) and Europe, Melissa is a master of the traditional techniques of drawing, oil painting, and silverpoint. Her work is filled with a devotional reverence for nature with a special emphasis on studying the effects of light.

Her current silverpoint drawing series titled Upturned Roots: Reflections on the California Droughts and Fires features works inspired by local trees and the elements of water and fire.

An active member of the art community, she exhibits her work and teaches at various
schools and art centers in the Bay Area.

Melissa Parhm MelissaParhm@instagram

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