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Melissa Dorn Richards


Melissa Dorn Richards works between painting and sculpture. She draws from common everyday objects, things often over-looked or passed by, as subject matter and infuses them with humor and expressive color. Dorn Richards is a Milwaukee-based artist, who holds a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. A practicing artist for 20 years, she is represented by Frank Juarez Gallery.

Her work can be found in many corporate collections including Tax-Air, Northwestern Mutual, Mandel Group, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, Littler Mendelson and Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.

Select exhibitions include: Mopping Up, Frank Juarez Gallery; The Jump Off, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art; Detroit Biennale, Museum of New Art; Wisconsin Artists Biennial, Museum of Wisconsin Art; Preservatif, Stockholm Gallery; Forward 2014, Charles Allis Art Museum; Up, Down!, River Edge Gallery; Moving Mountains, Frank Juarez Gallery; Schematic, UW-Sheboygan; Eight Counties, John Michael Kohler Arts Center; Art Chicago and Aqua Art Miami, Hotcakes Gallery.

Mop XXIV Graphite, acrylic on canvas 36 x 36 inches 2017
Mop XXV Snow fence, mop on latch hook canvas 96 x 48 inches 2017
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  1. […] Melissa Dorn Richards is a painter and sculptor based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her current work is based in industrial mopheads as the main material. She stumbled across this concept while reading a book containing the word “mop.” Richards was amused by the word and also reminded that her mother referred to her affectionately as “mop head” when she was a teenager with lots of messy, wavy hair. Richards began sketching and painting around this theme of industrial mops before moving into sculpture involving latch hooking with mop fibers. For this process, which can take a very long time, Richards recruited the help of interns. Together they have most recently created an eight-foot by four-foot wall hanging using mop fibers, orange snow fencing, and latch hook canvas. These mop paintings and sculptures are part of an exhibit titled Mopping Up that opened January 6, 2018. Richards still moves back and forth between painting and sculpting. Initially, she painted in oil using a primarily white palette. Eventually, though, she moved toward mixing graphite powder with modeling paste to create texture and move away from the white palette. When viewers encounter her work, Richards wants them to engage fully, even feeling compelled to touch the textured pieces. Humor plays a big role in Richards’ work. Aside from the relationship of the mop to her own hair, she includes an artistic playfulness in all of her pieces. Richards continues work on this series and has proposals pending at this time for future exhibitions. […]


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