"Melissa Eder understands color."
Art F City, Monday Links: Spring Forward, by Paul Legault, March 9, 2015
“I am interested in documenting and exploring the complexities of issues related to female identity, popular culture and kitsch,” Melissa Eder explains. A visual artist, Ms. Eder creates photo-based works. She makes large-scale, 30”x40" still life photos. But these works have a twist. The objects used are atypical. Instead of the conventional apples and oranges of Cezanne, she may use junk food, plastic fruit, and items obtained from 99 cents stores.
Another project, “Sense of Herself” is an ongoing photo-based work that she started in 1995. It is an installation that consists of over 750 8”x10” images ranging from a photograph of a pink cupcake, a can of TAB, a package of ground meat, and a pink plastic baseball bat. The objects were gathered from 99 cents stores, malls, fast food shops, bodegas, and thrift shops. All objects, however mundane each may seem, convey a certain beauty as well as a personal and pop cultural relevance to her. Ms. Eder explains, “When I was about three or four, I went with my family to see a Pop Art survey show at MOMA in 1967. I can recall my parents pointing out a sculpture of French fries and a painting of a piece of cake. When I got back home to New Jersey, I painted a picture of a piece of cake with a cherry on top. I thought it was great that you could look at everything as art. I guess I still believe that notion to a certain degree. Of course, now, I acknowledge the layers of complexities of meaning(s) that create Western culture on both a personal and larger field.”
"Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements" is a more recent series of photographs taken of floral arrangements that she has created. This project explores ideas related to the natural and artificial, high art/low art and personal taste as well as investigates the broad spectrum of colors/hues that exist in our world. It is also influenced by her love of funk music. Each arrangement explores a specific color like pink, white or yellow. The flowers used were gathered from various 99 cents stores.
Ms. Eder received her B.F.A. in painting from Parsons School of Design in New York City where she studied with Sean Scully and a M.F.A. in combined media from Hunter College in New York City where she studied with Robert Morris and received a Meritorious Award from the Alumni Association.
As a visual artist, her work has been shown nationally and internationally in such venues as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York University’s Broadway Windows Gallery, Art in General, the Aperture Foundation, the Humble Arts Foundation, the Whitney Houston Biennial, Paradice Palase, Brooklyn, NY and in Kansas City, Missouri and in Berlin, London, Rome and Korea. She participated in the Satellite Art Show during Art Basel Miami 2016.
She was an artist-in-residence at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, the Saltonstall Foundation, Ithaca, New York and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida as selected by photographer Graciela Iturbide and at Casa Na Ilha, Ilhabela, Brasil.
In 2011, her work was selected by Eric C. Shiner, the former director of the Andy Warhol Museum for his curated exhibit on CurateNYC. Her work was also chosen by Sarah Hasted for Photography Now, 2004, for the Photography Quarterly, Woodstock, New York. During the summer of 2014, her work was included in the Aperture Foundation’s Summer Open and was chosen from over 860 applicants. She was selected to design a piano for the public art project for Sing for Hope during the summer of 2013 that was displayed at Lincoln Center.
She has received numerous grants including funding from the Puffin Foundation and two Manhattan Community Arts Fund grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
Her work has been reviewed by the New York Times, highlighted in Feature Shoot, Co Design, the Huffington Post, the Collector Daily, VICE magazine and various other publications.
She lives in New York City and works in Brooklyn as an artist-in-residence through the Chashama Studio Residency. She is an Instructor of Critical Thinking for the City University of New York at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She was born in Long Branch, New Jersey.