Melissa has worked in both sculpture and drawings for over twenty years, living and exhibiting in California, Europe, and New York City.
With a background in anthropology, Melissa’s work reflects both non-Western and outsider art influences. Her drawings, collages, and figurative sculptures are characterized by their richly drawn and deeply layered surfaces, as well their quirky, often dark humor.
“I work like a handyman cobbling together drawings and sculptures from elements found, borrowed, and imagined. I use a wide range of materials from encaustic to clay, pastel to steel. The drawings and sculptures, often made in tandem, resonate with one another, the ideas in one reinforcing the themes of the other. All of my pieces share a thematic thread. Childlike and goofy my figures live in a dream world, cower in relationships or stand tall in the face of adversity. They are at once dark and funny, expressive of the absurd world around them.”
Stern’s sculpture and drawing has been exhibited widely in both museums and galleries throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Her multi-media installation project, The Talking Cure, has been touring U.S. museums since 2012. The work has been featured on PBS, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, ArtNews and was a featured invited presentation of the Spoletto Festival in Charleston SC It is currently on exhibit at The Wiseman Art Museum in Minneapolis, where it will reside until April 2017. Stern’s art reviews and cultural commentary are featured regularly in Hyperallergic, the Brooklyn-based digital arts publication.
She has work in private and public collections, including. The International Center for Collage, The Library of Congress, rare book collection, The Arkansas Art Center, Stavanger Museum, Stavanger Norway, The Museum of Art and Design in NYC and News Corporation, and JP Morgan. Her work has been reviewed in ARTnews, The Wall Street Journal, The Hartford Courant, The Chicago Tribune, The Memphis Commercial Appeal and NY Arts.