Melissa Parhm | Artist Statement
Upturned Roots, Silverpoint on Prepared Panels, 2018-2019
Upturned Roots is inspired by a tree in Glen Ellen – Kenwood I’ve been drawn to – especially the roots. After the 2017 fires, I searched and found it still intact. I saw the world in the tree, the concept of pareidolia.
I begin by preparing the panels in order to create a foundation for the silver. Building up many layers of luminous ground enables the interplay of light with the silver, creating a three-dimensional effect. The sun’s rays shifting on the panel’s surface results in an image that is ever-changing. New forms emerge and dissolve, like the forms I see in this tree’s roots.
Drawing with silver is sustainable and connects me to the lineage of artists I’m influenced by who worked in silverpoint in the ages before graphite was discovered and mined. Today as I am writing this, the fires are again raging in Napa. Again, I go into my studio, the elements, in order to honor them. They are all we have; they are the matter we are made of.
Upturned Roots was selected by the de Young Museum of Art for the 2020-2021 exhibition, On the Edge #565 email@example.com
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