Melanie Willhide’s work challenges the conceived limits of the photographic medium through merging analog and digital practices to make photographs that look like no other. Her vast body of work explores the heartbreak of perception and memory, love and loss, identity and representation, the temporal distance between seeing and knowing, and the willingness to emotionally succumb to the illusion of a photograph.
Willhide’s technical approach has evolved since she began her practice over two decades ago. It changed dramatically when a theft, and ultimate return, of her computer, resulting in a resurrected archive of digital images – all corrupted. Initially a self-described “straight-photographer,” the experience led to the artist’s creation of images that utilized the aesthetics of corruption. Treating pixels more like paint she began to create visual anomalies within her pieces through the use of digital editing techniques. This breakthrough in her practice has led to a boundaryless approach, culminating in painterly explorations of the psychological and symbolic.
Melanie Willhide was born in Manchester, Connecticut in 1975. She received her MFA from the Yale University School of Art and holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States for over two decades. Willhide’s work is included in a number of museum collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Eastman Museum and the Museum of Art & History. In addition, her works are held in private collections within the United States, England, and France. Her work has been reviewed and featured in a variety of notable publications including The New York Times, Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, Blind Spot, Art in America, and Modern Painters. She has also been featured in Cool Hunting, Saint Lucy, AfterImage, and Slate. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, California.