Born and based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia, Melanie Colosimo creates drawings, soft sculptures and installations that are shaped by the resourcefulness and legacy of labour in Atlantic Canada. These works address themes of collectivity, power, and care. She received a BFA from Mount Allison University (2006) and an MFA from the University of Windsor (2011). Her work has been presented nationally and internationally in venues such as the Art Gallery of Windsor (ON), Bonavista Biennale (NL), the Guangdong Museum of Art, (Guangzhou) and the He Xiangning Art Museum, (Shenzhen). She has participated in multiple residencies that include the Banff Centre and at the Vermont Studio Centre in Johnson, Vermont. She represented Atlantic Canada on the 2017 and 2020 Sobey Art Award long-list. Colosimo is also the Director/Curator of the Anna Leonowens Gallery Systems at NSCAD University where she facilitates over 200 exhibitions & events annually.
My relationship to Atlantic Canada and my nostalgia for it has left an indelible mark on my work. I am interested in how communities are formed and thrive but also fade and transition with the fluctuating economic landscape of our region. My large-scale drawings depicting fences as fallible devices of inclusion and exclusion have served as an impetus for adapting utilitarian materials often associated with construction -such as pylons and safety vests- into soft sculpture installations. Committing to simple materials - cut paper, graphite and fabric- I draw out larger themes of collectivity, access and care, critically examining notions of progress, gender inequality and proto-masculinity in the process.
My subjects are temporary utilitarian objects that connote construction, a ‘work in progress’ or the formative states. They are symbols of liminality, thresholds between a previous state of being and the next phase. I explore this liminal state; not only through the completion of a work but also during the phases of creation and process. My recent work opens inquiries into the structures that seemingly ensure our collective care and safety, the negotiation of trauma, and the generative power of collective action born from necessity and resourcefulness.
The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of Arts Nova Scotia and Canada Council for the Arts on numerous projects.