Melinda Braathen


When painting the figure, Melinda Braathen is often met with the impulse to paint into or directly over it. After several passes, what remains is an artistic interpretation of internal psychology and physiology, in an effort to render visible everyday rhythms and sensations arising inside the body, as well as external forces exerted onto it.


In a new series, Braathen leans further into this abstract visual language to more directly explore interpersonal dynamics, especially when engaged in conversation. The rhythm, tone, pressures and content held within the human voice and body physiologically affect us all differently. They help give shape to the evanescent structures we are continuously building as a means to understand and ultimately transgress the space between us. 


Braathen relies on drawing to initially capture or hold onto fleeting memories or sensations. The abstract language allows her to go past the representational triggers and reflect more specifically on the sensations, emerging thoughts, and innovative actions within the space of conversation that have the power to shift us slightly or even irreversibly. While Braathen mostly draws from lived experience, she also pulls from passages of books and interviews between innovative thinkers from a variety of fields to explore the inexhaustible architecture of conversation and human encounter.