“Plants coincide with the forms they invent: all forms are, for them, inflections of being, and not merely of doing and acting.”
“Reason is a seed.”
– Emmanuelle Coccia, from The Life of Plants: A Metaphysics of Mixture
In these paintings, accordion books, and arrangements of cut paper objects, leaf-as-letterforms emerge, unfold, and proliferate. Shape, color, structure, and space becomes the grammar, syntax, and speech of an unknowable intelligence. Materials embed and reveal this plant text in relation to physical surface and illusionary depth. These layered, stratified spaces are both open and unreadable.
Plants are communicative; they render language within environment.
My endeavor to read, write, and paint with them comes out of a long-held desire to explore their omnipresence and alterity though my work. Plants are kin and stranger. When I encounter them, I know and don’t know them; my intimacy with their particular forms and bodies is held in relation to their alienness.
Through her collage and painting-based multidisciplinary practice, Melissa Oresky seeks to recognize plants, in all their mystery and ubiquity, as perceptive and expressive beings. Her endeavor to paint “with” plants comes out of a long interest in landscape, biology, and abstraction, and is informed by embodied experience, as well as by scientific, historical, and vernacular forms of knowledge such as herbaria and field-guides.
Her work has been exhibited in the United States, South Korea, Germany, and New Zealand. Venues include the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Tripod Space Project, Busan; OQBO Gallery, Berlin, Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL; Hyde Park Art Center, 65GRAND, and The Franklin, Chicago; K. Imperial Fine Art, San Francisco; TSA New York, and Field Projects, NYC.
Residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Santa Fe Art Institute, and Schloss Plüschow, Germany.
Oresky received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996, and MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000. She lives and works in Normal, Illinois and teaches at Illinois State University.