Melissa Newman is an artist and singer. Her primary medium in visual art is porcelain and stoneware. She has shown her sculptures at venues across the tri-state area, including The Hamptons Show House (2012), Gallery 66 in Cold Spring, NY; Terrain in Westport, CT, the Westport Arts Center in Westport, CT; and many pop-up locations.
As a singer, Newman performs frequently with her Jazz Trio. For the past two decades, she has also taught art and drama at a correctional facility and worked with other programs in under-served communities. She has two sons and a lovely husband, and is writing a very messy novel that no one (not even you) will ever read.
Through art I explore my own wistfulness and frustration about the state of our planet and the people on it. I often use the inherent beauty of nature to create an entry point into ideas that are often darker on closer inspection. Most of my current work attempts to articulate the tensions that are undeniably escalating between human beings and the rest of the natural world.
I am keenly aware that my preferred medium is essentially mud - or more ironically, dust. The fact that someday all of it will return from whence it came is both sad and comforting to me. I see artists as “little gods,” who translate the world around them, creating their own worlds in response and giving form to something that does not yet exist. Messages and themes develop organically from the process. Clay work is ripe with metaphor. Centering on the potter’s wheel, or even watching one’s work topple from a shelf and smash into a million pieces: these are teachable moments that resonate every day.
I also draw and paint, and perform frequently as a jazz singer. Improvising before an audience has helped me to stay with the fleeting moment of creation, in spite of the often laborious nature of the sculpting process, and to be brave about risking mistakes. Raising children and revisiting that attitude of fearless creativity, music, travel, and seeing the evolution of art in other cultures are all experiences that inform my work. The variety of symbolism, materials and approaches in the world is astounding, but there are also similarities and through lines in art-making, and concerns that seem to be universal.