Robert Melee investigates the psychology of the everyday, often incorporating cast-off, vividly colored quotidian items, photographs and paint. He points towards a melancholy specific to domestic space that is derived simultaneously from familiarity and decoration but also, importantly, otherness.
Melee’s work continually draws attention to a paradox present every day all around us: a sense of isolation and decay that is built through a repeated attempt at opulence. Melee’s baroque, acid-hued environments queer notions of domesticity by blurring the line between high art and kitsch. The artist has even created a term for this, “Baloneyism,” referencing the aesthetics of suburban dysfunction as well as the ability to transform the common and ordinary into what he calls a “strange glamour and ridiculous beauty,” an outre, baroque vision Baudelairean lyricism, one that finds beauty in the grotesque and the obscene.
Melee studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York and currently lives and works in New York.
His solo exhibitions have been on view at a number of prestigious venues, including Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; White Cube, London; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; the Milwaukee Art Museum; David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; City Hall Park, New York; Arena Mexico, Guadalajara, Mexico.
Melee’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions around the world, including Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York; Adaptive Behavior, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; I am a Camera, the Saatchi Collection, London; Family, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Conn.; Portugal Arte 10, Lisbon, Portugal; Wild Exaggeration, The Grotesque Body in Contemporary Art, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel.