I create places to float with, to surrender to - healing reservoirs, deep sea gardens. Somewhere between seductive color washes and meticulous linework, and an impenetrable surface is an invitation to be suspended in a new space.
The rigorously decorative world in my paintings is inspired by 15th and 16th century mille-fleur tapestries, Persian manuscripts, and Renaissance ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ or ‘Wonder Rooms’. I create subtle biological impossibilities - succulents growing alongside shade-loving ferns and corals in the deep sea - in the same way ‘Wonder Rooms’ acted as a microcosm or memory theater. Time spent with a manuscript painting is a rhythmic bob between crisp vellum, reflective gold, and precise ink. My work on paper is similarly an enticement between crisp thick papers and powdery pastels, hiccupped washes and fluid ink lines.
Lush and inviting, these spaces reimagine the natural world, highlight and celebrate diversity - and create immersive and contemplative spaces of respite.
I am also inspired by visions of a personified, deified landscape I had while giving birth to my daughter. I labored in conversation with the Great Mother while she lifted up mountain ranges, thrust palm trees far from her surface, opened wide-mouthed volcanoes.
Now, I draw the progressive and tiny acts of labor in the structure of pine cones, mollusc shells, coral and ferns that remind me of the tiny, repeated pulse of mothering.
Born in Danbury, CT, Melissa Desmond Mohammadi currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA. She earned a BFA with a concentration in painting and printmaking from Rhode Island College (Providence, RI) and an MFA from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX). She has enjoyed the generous support of awards including Meadows Scholarship Award, the Cerrino Fellowship, and the Rigsby Grant. Her work has been exhibited nationally. She lives, works, and roams with her husband and three mostly auto-didactic children, who explore their education at home and all over the country.