Melissa Marks | Volitia Returns

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Opening Reception: Sunday, November 12, 2-4 PM
Outdoor Installation on view through Spring 2018
Drawing Exhibition: November 12 -November 30, 2017 


The outdoor space at Planthouse will be activated this fall by Melissa Marks’ wall painting, Volitia Returns. Blossoms, balls and dashes, drawn in acrylic and graphite, dance and crash across Planthouse’s exterior surfaces. Modeled after the secret plant room created by the protagonist in Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the mural conjures the power of isolated yet determined efforts toward preserving nature’s vital animus and creating a better future. The piece is the latest among Marks’ long-standing investigations of the female character Volitia, an invented alter ego in the form of an abstract, mutable blob, whose presence on the exterior walls of the gallery’s backyard evokes the potential of generative growth in an inhospitable environment. Volitia also embodies the dichotomy of the stable icon and the unstable expressive mark. Set in a nook of the Flower District, Volitia Returns is an ambitious large-scale work dealing with the skill of adaptation.

“Plants, defined by their immobility, have evolved extraordinary life-ways by way of compensation, the power to regenerate after most of their body has been eaten; the ability to have sex by proxy; the possession of more than 20 senses whose delicacy far exceeds any of our own.”  – Richard Mabey The Cabaret of Plants

“Lily, for all her dissatisfied dreaming, had never really conceived the possibility of revolving around a different centre: it was easy enough to despise the world, but decidedly difficult to find any other habitable region.”  – Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

“In a rowdy, reverse steamroll, Volitia returns in order to make her point, to undo a presupposed, solipsistic force-field with an earnest untangling of imperfect reflections.”  – Melissa Marks


Melissa Marks describes “the drawn mark” as a “mutable abstraction, linear catalyst and fantasy instigator.”
Marks received her Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University and her Masters of Fine Arts from Yale University. Solo exhibitions include Bloomberg Space, London; Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, NY; Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT and Joya: arte + ecología, Spain. Her work has been included in exhibitions at PS1/Moma, NY; Artspace, CT and The Drawing Center, NY. In 2016, Marks completed a massive floor painting and drawing installation inside El Castillo de Veléz Blanco, Andalucía, Spain.

Image: Melissa Marks, Volitia Looks Up,  2017, color pencil on paper, 53 x 37 inches.