Happy 84th Birthday, Brother Mel
June 2012 is Brother Mel’s 84th birthday month. Anyone who knows him knows he will probably spend every day of the week making art–in between appointments with doctors, perhaps, but still working in his studio in the other hours. Just shows it’s hard to break a 50+ year habit of working 6 days a week 52 weeks a year.
Here’s a picture of Brother Mel taking a break a couple of days before his birthday while talking with me on the phone about three new sculptures that will be coming to downtown Nashville later this summer. To give you an idea of scale, the middle piece is 9′ tall. These three stainless steel geometric sentinels present geometric shapes in the tradition of 20th-century artists such as David Smith, and many others. They are what I call Brother Mel Basics, the forms and shapes he has employed in so many ways over the years in various mediums.
Note the sample below from his current tissue on canvas collage pieces, a new series he has developed just in the last month. Whether steel, paper, canvas, true fresco, wood, or whatever, his artwork communicates to the viewer a sense of being grounded–no matter the shapes, materials, and subjects–while at the same time being lifted up.
He sums up his work best in his own comment:
“Bringing beauty to space to lift up spirits.”
At The Arts Company, Brother Mel is a bona fide Art Star in our gallery hall of fame. He is like no one else we know, a true fresh, original, contemporary artist year after year after year.
Happy Birthday, indeed, to Brother Mel.
…Birthday remarks by Anne Brown on behalf of Brother Mel’s Nashville fan base