Exhibition by Elsa María Meléndez at Alabama Contemporary Art Center

𝘘𝘶𝘪𝘦𝘳𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘴 𝘰 𝘭𝘢 𝘱𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘢 𝘥𝘦𝘭 𝘤𝘶𝘦𝘳𝘱𝘰, 2017, intaglio and xerographic printed puppets,
wooden box lined with screen-printed textiles, embroidery, foam.

This exhibition of new and existing work by Elsa María Meléndez (Caguas, PR 1974) explores the intersection of political and personal identity. Meléndez experiments through different mediums, utilizing soft textiles, large-format embroidery, and serigraphs to create a body of work that traverses scale. Through large-scale fabric constructions, as well as small-scale dioramas the artist calls “theaters”, Meléndez creates narrative spaces that document the uncertainty one experiences while living in Puerto Rico, an “Island of Confusion.”

Exhibition view

A champion of doubt, her work is both playful and deeply political; both personal and embedded in public discourse. Meléndez uses autobiography, and the intimacy of self-portraiture to transmute politicized space, bringing the personal into the public square. Her narrative questions the authority of oppression by exposing cultural contradictions and denouncing misogyny. Vengo de una isla de confusión is a body of work that uses radical vulnerability to drive toward a better understanding of the world.

Exhibition view

This is Elsa María Meléndez’s first solo exhibition in the United States in an art career that extends 25 years. Meléndez stands out as a printmaker, installation, and textile artist. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Puerto Rico and currently resides in Caguas, Puerto Rico. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she studied curatorship, registration, and collection management at the Smithsonian Center for Education Museum Studies in Washington, D.C., and at SUAGM in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.

Exhibition view

Meléndez has received awards including the Flamboyán Artist Fellowship in partnership with NALAC. She was nominated for the 2019 USA Fellowship, United States Artists, and received the Lexus Fellowship in 2009. Her works are exhibited and collected in museums and cultural institutions in Puerto Rico, the United States, and internationally. Most recently, Meléndez was a winner of the Outwin Boochever 2022 competition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Exhibition by Elsa María Meléndez has been through December 10, 2022. For further information, please visit:https://www.alabamacontemporary.org/