Melinda Braathen’s paintings explore perception and light. Her works blend figuration and abstraction in an effort to express how dependent our perception is on physiology. Her process often begins with accurately representing the figure within her environment, only to gradually obliterate, conceal or dissolve it into a series of abstract forms. In several instances, what remains is an artistic interpretation of an individual’s internal psychology, in an effort to render visible every day rhythms and sensations arising inside the body, as well as subtle external forces exerted on the body.
Equally central to Braathen’s paintings is light, and the varying ways she can shape it with pigment to create a multitude of colors and intensities. She explores light both to accurately ground figures in their environment, but also to develop a visual language that can touch on the more invisible, internal psychologies. Here the shifts in light can be likened to a change in environmental chemistry or a change in energy. Light and color shifts are one of the most important indicators of energy change within a reaction. She asks the question — why is there a shift in light and who or what is potentially causing it? For Braathen, there is often a tension between the known and the unknown, in both the physical and immaterial.
The artist lives and works in Los Angeles.