The Wonderful World of Melissa Manfull

Melissa Manfull’s (NAP #85) solo show Schemata at Taylor De Cordoba is a really great visual embodiment of the artistic process, as it tangibly shows Manfull’s growth and expanding mastery of mediums.  Since her first pieces were shown at Taylor De Cordoba in a group show in 2007, her work has changed in subject and color, though not in the detailed, inquisitive nature of her drawings psychological musings. - Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Melissa Manfull | Prisoner's Dilemma, 2013, Acrylic on panel, 60" x 40." Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.

Melissa Manfull | Rising & Falling, 2013, Acrylic on panel, 60" x 40." Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.

With her earlier works, Manfull documented with delicate precision architectural wanderings and explorations with fine-lined ink on paper in such shows and Tesseracts (2009) and Pattern Constraints (2010).  With Pattern Constraints, Manfull introduced surreal and explosive water-washed inks on paper.  Her fine and detailed architectural elements were still present, but pools of concentrated and washed out ink spread mystically through her structures.

Melissa Manfull | Playfield: Asymmetry, 2013, Acrylic on Panel, 24" x 18." Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.

Now with Schemata, Manfull melds her same delicate and precise lines with reimagined spindles, patterns, structures, and machinery.  She has moved away from delicate, framed or unframed paper and has moved to mounted panels, leaving her paintings more accessible and more exposed.  She has combined her application techniques, mixing pools of bleeding acrylic ink with delicate architectural drawings and cross-hatches, with bright, bold, and solid bursts of color. 

Melissa Manfull | Exploded View: Fixed Point 2, 2013, Acrylic on panel, 20" x 16." Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.

Her palette has also changed drastically, welcoming a mix of solid primaries, washed out neutrals, and neons and fluorescents, that recall the games and gaming structures her paintings reference. The effect is surreal.  Her paintings at once recall the games she draws from, such as pachinko, pinball, and board games, but interestingly, they also begin to recall the signage used at gambling establishments, reminiscently mimicking both the architectural elements of casinos and Las Vegas at large in addition to the very signage used to allure you into these locales. 

Melissa Manfull | Points of Choice: No Possible Action, 2013, Acrylic on panel, 60" x 40." Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.

Her works are complex and deserve real time. In looking into what feels like various windows and cubbies of each structure Manfull paints, viewers can discover and explore the topographies of her imagined environments, finding hints and allusions to maps, structural designs, games, gambling environments, film reels, and a hundred other moving and pulsating parts. 

I particularly liked the moments when the ink washes surrounded a work or showed up in unexpected ways and places. Manfull’s world is one of order and chaos, splendidly blended for a viewer’s delight and aesthetic exploration.

Melissa Manfull | Study for Vortex, 2013, Acrylic on panel, 14" x 11." Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.

Melissa Manfull | Playfield: Symmetry, 2013, Acrylic on panel, 24" x 18." Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.


Melissa Manfull received her MFA from Concordia University in Montreal and has exhibited her artwork at The Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, High Energy Constructs in Los Angeles, and Bourget Gallery in Montreal, among others. She lives and works in Los Angeles. This is her third solo exhibition at Taylor De Cordoba.

Ellen C. Caldwell is an LA-based art historian, editor, and writer.


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