November 29, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Artist Melanie Daniel pieces together radically different cultures

Drawing from her experiences living in Israel for the past 20 years – seven of which she has spent in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Jaffa – Canadian-born artist Melanie Daniel (pictured above) will open a solo exhibit of new paintings at Shulamit Gallery in Venice tonight, May 21.

“Piecemaker” is a striking body of work that reflects Daniel’s negotiation of her own hybrid identity and moments of cultural dislocation.

This selection of paintings presents dichotomous motifs, sublime color palettes, abstracted landscapes, and dreamlike settings that confound concrete storylines.

Unique formal and compositional elements unite to create a sense of unease that is rooted in the artist’s personal experiences living in her adopted home.

In her practice, Daniel excels at defying traditional narrative frameworks, achieved through the use of dense and disorienting compositions, the melding of abstraction and figuration, and by deploying jarring color combinations activated through thin color fields and areas of detailed brushwork. In “Piecemaker,” the story is always unresolved, as Daniel prefers to create psychologically fraught scenes that evoke both reverie and anomie.

This tension between memory and fantasy highlights her own personal negotiation of Jaffa’s diverse backdrop, where local Arab and Jewish cultures co-exist to create a vibrant, complex, and at times, fraught sociopolitical environment.

Throughout the exhibition, which will run through June 27, Daniel continues to incorporate conflicting cultural motifs, referencing Canadian landscape painting embedded with traditional Arabic designs.

Shulamit Gallery is located at 17 North Venice Blvd., Venice. For more information, call 310.281.0961 or visit shulamitgallery.com.

Patchwork Landing, 2015, 55.25” x 63”
Patchwork Landing, 2015, 55.25” x 63”

How many pieces will be in this exhibition?

Ten paintings will be exhibited in the main space of the gallery, all oil on canvas. Formats range from large (80 inches) to tiny (25 inches). Each painting was created over the past six months of intense studio work. The shippers come to my studio, take all the paintings away for crating, and they’re finally flown out to their overseas destination, in this case, Venice. I love that part – walking back into an empty studio. I enter these high-energy six-month cycles during which I can produce an entire solo show. Then, I chill out for a month or two, recharge the creative juices and get back to work on the next show.

What do you think makes this exhibit unique?

This exhibit fits its venue hand in glove. The Shulamit Gallery’s mandate is one that emphasizes cultural tolerance and socially engaged art or art of a hybrid nature. As the show’s title “Piecemaker” hints, all paintings are an attempt at piecing together elements of two radically different cultures: Canadian and Middle Eastern. Just imagine highly charged forest landscapes with enough neon pink to lend them a slightly apocalyptic sensibility, populated with furtive characters and Arabesque patterns.

Can you tell a story of one of your favorite works, and how that piece came to be?

One piece, “Scruffy’s Emerald Secret” is a favorite of mine. It’s moodier that the others and I can identify with the bare-footed loner sitting on a tree stump, hunched over his campfire. Behind him looms this tall green patterned tree, a beautiful freak specimen. It shouldn’t be there, but it is. The man shouldn’t be there, but he is. Where is his family? Why is he alone?

How did this exhibit come together?

Shula Nazarian saw my works at the Untitled Art Fair in Miami several years ago and that sparked a dialogue and finally an invitation to do a show here in Venice. I’m very lucky to be working with such a committed and open-minded person.

Will you be in Venice for the opening reception?

For real? I’m flying half way around the world just to say, “I’m so stoked to be here!” I can’t wait.

Where do you live now?

Today, I’m far from where I started. I grew up in British Columbia, and one year while travelling in India, I met an Israeli. The rest as they say is history. Presently I live in Jaffa, a unique neighbourhood south of Tel Aviv where Palestinians and Israelis coexist. It’s an oasis of sanity in a country hell bent on revisiting the Dark Ages.

Can you talk about the title 
of the exhibition?

“Piecemaker” was a word that occurred to me when I began to notice that many of the Islamic designs I was using reminded me of patterns commonly found in American quilting. Members of quilting guilds often use the moniker “Piece Maker.” For me, it conjured the nearly hopeless notion of peacemaking, which when placed in a conflicted Middle Eastern context, sounded about right. I noticed that when I painted an Arabesque star in a more didactic manner, truer to a traditional color scheme, I could preserve something of the original design. But that wasn’t what I was after. So, I started painting the same stars in a chunky, random manner, which made them look more like Shaker quilts. Most of these quilt designs originated in the Middle East, only to be adopted by Europeans and eventually exported to the New World so long ago. I don’t try to fuse these two identities or elements, because I don’t think I can or even want to resolve this strange narrative for the viewer or myself. They are simply that: pieces from very different worlds which hold enormous potential for more storytelling.

What’s next for you?

I also work with a gallery in New York, so my next year will be in preparation for the next show there. My short-term plans involve a happy week in Venice meeting new folks, watching surfers, and savouring as many burritos and quesadillas as opportunity permits. No one understands Mexican food in the Middle East and I’m hooked.

Related Posts

Cancer Cartel Provides Financial Help To Cancer Patients

November 16, 2022

November 16, 2022

Cancer Cartel is helping cancer patients focus on their treatment, not the financial stress of living with a diagnosis. Learn...

100 Miles of Bus-Only Lanes Within Five Years on City Council Plans

October 17, 2022

October 17, 2022

L.A’s public transportation network is known for being slow due to traffic congestion. A new motion by L.A. City Council...

How Do I Know What Types of Commercial Trucking Insurance Coverage I Need?

October 1, 2022

October 1, 2022

Running a small trucking company is expensive. You must comply with many rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carriers...

Best Ways To Show Your LA Baseball Love

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

Los Angeles is a sports lover’s paradise. In every sport except for the NHL, locals have two teams to choose...

Inspiring Others Through Body Positivity

May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022

Navy Officer Janae Carey Teams-Up with 2022 Herbalife24 Triathlon Los Angeles . Video brought to you by Pudu Pudu.

Best Gifts for Mother’s Day in 2022

March 31, 2022

March 31, 2022

Mothers are the first teachers children have in their lives. They simply teach us everything we need to know about...

LAPD Operations-West Bureau Commences Community Police Academy

March 2, 2022

March 2, 2022

Pacific Area Community Police Station hosting 11-week program Submitted by the Los Angeles Police Department On March 29, 2022, Operations-West...

LAFD Arson Unit Asks For Help Identifying Suspect In Venice Trash Fires

March 1, 2022

March 1, 2022

By Dolores Quintana After the multiple rubbish fires were set this weekend in Venice near Paloma Court there was a...

Critical Need for Blood Donations on the Westside

February 28, 2022

February 28, 2022

American Red Cross, UCLA Health continue to face a national blood emergency By Dolores Quintana  The American Red Cross continues...

Stunning Music Academy in Brentwood will celebrate its Grand Opening, Sunday, February 20th.

February 18, 2022

February 18, 2022

Introducing the second location of the highly successful Angeles Academy of Music, which has become an icon of Westwood Village.  ...

Cedars-Sinai Urges Blood Donations

January 11, 2022

January 11, 2022

As 2022 begins, Cedars-Sinai is facing a critical blood shortage and is encouraging prospective donors to give blood as soon...

US Motorcycle Helmet Laws Mapped

January 5, 2022

January 5, 2022

At YoVenice we have spent years writing about news stories of motorcyclists with head and brain injuries from collisions. We...

Interview: Westside Food Bank Adapting to Challenges of the Pandemic

January 4, 2022

January 4, 2022

An interview with Bruce Rankin, Executive Director of The Westside Food Bank By Dolores Quintana We spoke to Bruce Rankin,...

Yo! Venice’s Best Westside Dishes of 2021

December 28, 2021

December 28, 2021

By Sam Catanzaro Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in-between, the Westside has no shortage of world-class food to...