I am inspired by a particular luscious flattened landscape space found in 15th and 16th c mille-fleur tapestries and Persian manuscript painting. A space at once meditative, immersive and rigorously decorative -- describing an inviting landscape we believe we might move through while seducing us with a tactile 2-dimensional surface. I create work that invites the viewer to be submerged, lulled by the rhythm of inviting space and surface. Time spent with a manuscript painting is also a rhythmic bob between crisp vellum, reflective gold, and precise ink. My work is similarly an enticement between crisp thick papers and powdery pastels, hiccupped washes and fluid ink lines. I am also inspired by visions of a personified, deified landscape I had while giving birth to my daughter. I labored in conversation with the Great Mother while she lifted up mountain ranges, thrust palm trees far from her surface, opened wide-mouthed volcanoes. Now, I draw the repeated progressive and tiny acts of labor in the structure of pine cones, shells, ferns that remind me of the tiny, endless, repeated pulse of mothering. That day's labor was spent in San Francisco where I live now, but I have moved continuously throughout the country. The wildly different landscapes I've immersed myself in (both spiritually and physically) have formed their own language in my work, a utopian landscape as fantastic and seductive to me as 15th century French and Persian imagery.
Born in Danbury, Connecticut, Melissa Desmond Mohammadi has lived and worked throughout the US, in Oakland, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Boston, Dallas, Austin and currently lives and works in San Francisco. She earned a BFA with a concentration in Painting and Printmaking from Rhode Island College (Providence, RI) and a MFA from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX). She has enjoyed the generous support of awards including Meadows Scholarship Award, the Cerrino Fellowship, and the Rigsby Grant. Her work has been exhibited throughout the USA.