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One-Person Exhibition by Deb Mell Opens March 11

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The Plattsburgh State Art Museum presents "Family and Friends, an Interpretive Exhibition by Deb Mell, opening on Thursday, March 11 and continuing through April 9.

A Fine Couple by Deb Mell Mell's mixed media, which are primarily two-dimensional works, are visual representations of personal mythologies derived from her collection of things and her relationships with friends an family. Her choice of materials includes various found objects, self-made paper, oil paint, beads and wood. For Mell, the physical process of art making is equally important as the creative aspect.

Speaking of her works and processes, Mell says, "I grew up making things. When I was a child, my grandfather taught me how to create whatever I though of by using whatever I found, from driftwood to broken glass, as material. His rule for constructions, however, was that they had to work. For example, if I made a boat, it had to float; if I made a plane, it had to fly.

"I always enjoyed the process of making things, and find that, even now, the physical aspects of constructing a piece are as important as the creative ones, which is why I make my own paper and use wood rather than canvas," said Mell. "Like my grandfather, I too am a collector of 'things,' which I transform into my personal mythologies."

Mell went on to say that mythology itself has evolved from the cultural underpinnings present in virtually all societies and different civilizations have relied on the dissemination of myths as a way of explaining the inexplicable, enforcing cultural institutions or relieving societal tensions.

She added, "Most mythological tales, furthermore, are couched in the spiritual allegories of the societies from which they emanate. This, then, is the background I use in my art to build the personal story of my relationship with family, friends and acquaintances. I believe I can use my background, which includes ancestors of Native American heritage, as my personal dictionary. I use the playfulness inherent in most myths and legends as a means of turning personal frustrations and fantasies into artistic portrayals."

Man with Fur by Deb Mell She explained that ultimately, her art explores her relationship with spiritual things. "As a writer friend of mine put it, 'my work is about coaxing the emanation of spirit itself from the inanimate. Or more simply, to animate the inanimate."
Mell has exhibited throughout New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Louisiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and in Denmark and was the recipient of the Dodge Foundation Fellowship for Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 1999, 2001 and 2003.

Her education includes studies at Illinois State University, Brooklyn Museum Art School and in Garrigues, France. This show offers an exciting and unique statement to the museum's exhibition schedule.

Mell will give a lecture on Thursday, March 11 at 4 p.m. in the Burke Gallery, located in the Myers Fine Arts Building, with an opening reception immediately following until 6 p.m. Both events are open and free to the public.

For more information, contact the Plattsburgh Art Museum at 518-564-2474. Museum hours are daily, 12 noon to 4 p.m., except holidays.
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