Elsa María Meléndez, (Puerto Rican, b. 1974), Adalicia en el país de los hardcorosos (Adalicia in hardcoreland), Detail, 2009, Intaglio on padded and sewn paper, wooden box , 23 in. x 18 in. x 10 in. , Collection of the artist, Image courtesy of The Alabama Contemporary Art Center
Born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico in 1974, Elsa María Meléndez is a printmaker and installation artist whose work challenges the traditional definitions of each medium. With an artistic career that spans over 25 years, Meléndez’s practice focuses on exploring and denouncing gender inequality, the implementation of detrimental public policies, and the relationship between her personal experience and the social sphere. The context for these inquiries is, as Meléndez has stated, “the colonial status of the island of Puerto Rico and the absence of policies that guarantee well-being.”
Elsa María Meléndez, (Puerto Rican, b. 1974), Isla de nostalgias (Island of Nostalgia), 2020-2022, Embroidery on canvas with discarded stuffed stockings, and wire, Embroidered canvas with attached stockings, Padded and sewn stockings , Variable dimensions, Collection of the artist, Image courtesy of The Alabama Contemporary Art Center
Including a selection of three-dimensional constructions, soft textiles, and large-scale embroidered pieces, Vengo de una isla de confusión is Meléndez’s first solo museum exhibition outside of her native Puerto Rico. Together, these works embody the impulse to document uncertainty, expose cultural contradictions, and denounce misogyny in a style characteristic of the artist’s production and her approach to local and universal issues. Oscillating between the intimate and the collective, Meléndez’s work invites visitors to question preconceptions about women’s bodies and to consider the notion of art as public square.
This exhibition is organized by l’Artban and the Rollins Museum of Art, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated, bilingual catalog available in the museum store. The exhibition can be seen until August 27, 2023. More information: https://www.rollins.edu/rma/