ABOUT THE ARTIST
Mel Hartigan is a visual artist from Naarm/Melbourne. Their work is based in a Surrealist aesthetic and spans drawing, sculpture, animation and printmaking. Mel’s art is often initiated by game-play or a challenge and like many other artists; it serves as a visual download of emotions and experiences.
Mel is influenced by satire, behaviour, special FX and consumer culture. They have a fascination with the natural world and the variety of flora and fauna that survive against the odds. This culminates in work that is often a juxtaposition between opposing concepts such as real/unreal, attraction/ revulsion, human/inhuman, meaning/nonsense.
Mel’s works have no singular or true narrative; instead they are a series of connections made between their daily points of interest, heartbreaks and mundane sinew. Mel has their own meaning but it is also up for grabs – if someone sees something else, then this is also thematically correct. Mel believes art to be a dialogue between the artist and the viewer. It will connect if it matches the drapes and curtains and it will connect deeper if it matches your psychological décor also.
This is a hand coloured etching titled Spree I. It is half of a diptych of copper plate etchings created in 2022 with its companion work, Spree II depicting rainbow lorikeets. The concept was initiated by a personal challenge to create two works with a prompt “Kiss” or “Kill” as well as devise something that felt constrained by the rectangular copper etching plate. “Kiss” or “Kill” stemming from the podcast content Mel uses to keep them company in their studio, where trauma is a modern day fairytale to be consumed whilst doing other things.
Aesthetically, Mel thought about those tourist tea-towels that have a play between their border and their imagery and without a true “right way up”. They decided to bend two anthropomorphic currawong birds into this configuration, hands joined in mutual satisfaction, eyes are on the prize, beaks are smiling weapons. These are most definitely the killers in this series.
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