Melissa Leandro

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Artist Statement:
Melissa Leandro is an interdisciplinary artist who uses line drawing, weaving, heat fusing, embroidery and collage to build surfaces that have embedded cultural and historical cues, but no definable narrative indicators. In Leandro’s current body of work, she uses the process of cyanotype printing to create a positive and negative image that captures the silhouette of everyday objects, trinkets and mementos. These real world objects, gathered through travel and family exchange, are transformed into abstract representations that mimic topographical spaces, systems of map-making and landmark images. These objects are natural and synthetic, often made of plastic, fabric, plant matter, stones, and metal. The original cyanotype prints evolve through multiple iterations of translation. Physical techniques and manipulation propels these prints far away from their original source. Defined by their process of digital jacquard weaving, appliqué, and embroidery, elements of the original materials are hidden, exposed, and thus fragmented. Small-scale pen drawings and watercolor collages are converted to embroideries and stitched lines. They are stitched repeatedly over and over, often on top of one substrate. Imagery is built up on the surface, in an additive process, yet simultaneously there is a deconstruction that occurs when the fabric is submerged in dye, cut away, or frayed. The build up of layers is purposely dismantled as a way to unravel the inherent structure of the physical object. The residue of distorted images and multi-step making are critical to Leandro's practice of creating surfaces that interrupt the viewer’s perception of space and flatness.
Relationship to Chicago:
I am currently a practicing artist within Chicago, exhibiting locally and internationally. I am currently represented by Efrain Lopez Gallery here in Chicago. I have a studio in downtown and Logan Square area. I am also very involved in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as Assistant Director of facilities of Fiber Material Studies Department(SAIC). My work at SAIC allows me to really engage with my weaving practice and connect with those who also produce art within the language of fiber techniques and processes (student, fellow artist, faculty, etc). After 8 years in Chicago, I am extremely connected with the local art community as I regularly attend openings, lectures and happenings throughout the city.
Year of Birth:
Country of Origin:
Places Of Residency:
Chicago, IL; Miami, FL.
Art Form:
Collage, Drawing, Fiber Art, Mixed Media.