Two years ago Melba Price set out to start a body of work focused on a series of photographs of anonymous individuals in their teens or twenties. The photographs were culled from royalty-free websites like Getty Images. In searching through the thousands of digital images of unknown faces, Price sought out pictures that sparked a glimmer of possibility. She says “I don’t know these people but I recognize them.” Despite the initial disconnect between Price and her subjects, there is an emotional connection that artist experiences during the painting process. Price’s show for Clough-Hanson Gallery will consist of a number of these discrete works on paper. While Price’s straight-forward gouache portraits recall the work of documentary-esque contemporary photographers like Julie Moos and Rineke Dijkstra, there is a delicious painterly process within Price’s slowly and subtly layered images. The patient building of these seductive paintings allows Price to build a connection with her anonymous subjects and by doing so provides room for the viewers to do the same.
Melba Price has shown extensively throughout the Midwest including solo shows at Sherry Leedy Gallery in Kansas City, the Minneapolis Instituted of Art, Midway Contemporary as well as Soo Visual Arts in Minneapolis, Past honors include a number of prizes including Bush Foundation Fellowship in 2002 and 1994, the Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant in 1999, the Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship in 1997, and the prestigious McKnight Foundation Fellowship in 1994. Her work has appeared in print in Artforum, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, and in New American Paintings.