I create bodies of conceptual work around themes exploring social and political landscapes, drawing upon historical and philosophical references of power, fragility and perception. My multi-disciplinary seeks to act like a mirror on society and its behavior; prompting the viewer to consider the state of global consciousness through various vantage points - privilege, historical rememory, freedom, and consequence.
I received my art education from my own school of practical art experience that I call the "Mott Haven Art School"; a playful reference to my 17+ years living and working in the South Bronx artist community. With no formal art training, I researched like a historian, questioned and critiqued like a sociologist; weaving history, memory, and politics while combining ritual and symbolic significance of process and materiality.
Embroidery has been an anchor in most of my work, a skill that was passed down through generations of working seamstresses in Puerto Rico and NYC and taught to me by my grandmother as a child. Combining my love of woodworking and with this familial history of embroidery, I began to exploring the process to bring a more sculptural, tactile element to my work: embroidering on wood.
The wood embroideries speak to the embeddedness of history, memory and permanence of interference. By carving, drilling and sewing into scrap wood, the work explores the long lasting social and environmental effects of globalization.
Self taught artist Melissa Calderón creates conceptual work around themes exploring social and political landscapes, drawing upon historical and philosophical references of power, fragility and perception. Her work has been exhibited at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Queens Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Portland Museum of Art, Arsenal de la Puntilla and Galería 20/20 in Puerto Rico, Pioneer Works, and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture among others.
She has been included in such books as Frescos, 50 contemporary artists from Puerto Rico and Strange Material: Storytelling through Textiles from Arsenal Pulp Press. Melissa is currently working on a permanent NYC Percent for Art Commission to be installed in the South Bronx in 2019. She is born, bred, and resides in the Bronx.