Melissa Melero Moose
Melissa's Artist Statement
My artworks consist of contemporary mixed media paintings of images inspired by the landscape and culture of the Numu (Northern Paiute) in Nevada, California, and Oregon. Organic objects, sand, acrylic washes and mediums are all layered intuitively to create a visual in which life in the Great Basin is told through a new medium. Willows, tules, cattails, and pine nuts are all very important staples to the Paiute people, being sources of food, shelter, and implements made with artistic intention. I integrated these images and cultural organic materials into my artwork as my interpretation of landscapes and how I view the beauty of my culture as well as nature itself. I consider these works to be a perspective of my tribe and culture through the eyes of a Native woman, mother, and artist.
The process of these works evolved from painting abstract figures and landscapes to experimental combining of mediums and objects to create my current mixed media work. The ideas of applying willow and other objects to the canvas came from the family coming together to make each part of my sons’ cradleboard. From the willow alignment to the beadwork for his cradleboard hood, I saw each part separately before it was assembled and wanted to document that series of creation. Since then my life and artwork has gone into a whole new direction. I also began the process of painting green at this time, and create my own acrylic washes to conserve paint and leave nothing to be washed down the drain. I combine many layers of the washes and mediums to create my landscapes and Great Basin inspired images. These bas relief like, highly textured surfaces transform from two-dimensional canvas to three-dimensional objects when I attach the willow, pinenuts, or found objects to the surface.
I view these works as a personal collaboration of my culture, individual development, and curious expression of the world around me. My intention is to share with others the beauty of the Great Basin area, people, and culture.
Melissa Melero-Moose was born in San Francisco, CA in 1974 and spent most of her childhood living in Reno, Nevada. She is a Northern Paiute enrolled with the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe located in Fallon, Nevada with ties to Fort Bidwell Paiute in California. Melissa holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Fine Arts from Portland State University, Portland, OR.
Her works are a part of the permanent collections of the School for Advanced Research (IARC), Santa Fe, NM, Autry Museum in Los Angeles, CA, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, NM, the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, NV, the Newark Museum in Newark, NJ and the Sheppard Museum, at the University of Nevada, Reno.
She is currently exhibiting regionally and nationally as an individual artist and with the GBNA art collective. Her influences are imagery found in the Great Basin landscape, petroglyphs, beadwork, and basketry from the Native tribes of Nevada and California. In 2019, Melissa began a collaboration to bring Great Basin Indigenous artists' works and historical records to a permanent museum setting within the Nevada Museum of Art.
Melissa currently lives with her family in Hungry Valley, Nevada working as a professional artist, contributing writer for First American Art Magazine and founder of the art collective Great Basin Native Artists (GBNA).