(Melanie Hickerson wrote the following statement for the Ceres Exhibition ("Painting Myself")of May 21 -- June 26, 1996)

My paintings are visual metaphors constructed to describe an "internal reality", expressively. I use figure-ground illusions, which are common currency of discursive thought, in various visual metaphors to talk about that-which-words-are-inadequate-to-describe. The images are manipulated (like words in poetry) to describe internal worlds ... or...to describe The World from the inside out.

The paintings begin as diagrams on a rectangle or a square. I like composing on a diagonal for the inherent impact/power of the Dionysian construction. The diagonal composition also lends itself towards the possibility of depicting movement in this static medium. The image/form vocabulary is taken from studies and sketches of the world. The forms, while personal, are of narratives that others of my culture also know. I use shapes, forms and associations to grab the viewer on an immediate level and then to play on many different, deeper levels/layers of intellectual, emotional and intuitive meaning.

My color originates in the brilliant and brutal sunlight of the Southwest United States. Mexico City was the first great North American City I saw as a child. I make pools of color on a surface that create the forms. The color is pushed to a high intensity as I watch the rhythms emerge and use them and the color to reiterate the feeling, the impact, of the painting. My paintings are of my culture and of me. I try to push personal images to the archetype.

But my paintings are paintings FIRST. Modern technology has liberated visual art from the burden of giving factual information but that remains an option within the province of visual art, of the potential visual vocabulary. I have a wonderful joy in the act of painting and revel in the craft. The objects I make will look different in different light, on different days and when seen by different people.

-Melanie Hickerson