Graduate art student opens first gallery
Graduate painting student Melinda Laszczynski will open her first solo exhibition at Fresh Arts on Friday.
Laszczynski’s exhibit, “Always Plus One Day,” was inspired by a friend who lost his mother, whom he had promised he would “love her always plus one day.”
“It’s like a mantra,” Laszczynski said. “Not to sound too hokey, but it’s sort of ambiguous if you take out the ‘love.’ I thought it was interesting because it has this sort of contradiction that I see of pining for something but then having to let it go in the present or in the moment, sort of sensing a balance.”
Laszczynski’s exhibition will feature 15 works, some from 2012 and 2013 and a few from this year.
“I was thinking of a lot of things, and when I was writing the proposal, I was thinking a sort of overall loose theme that my work at the time could fit into,” Laszczynski said. “It was right after my first year of living in Texas; I came up with the title.”
From Cleveland, Laszczynski moved to Houston to attend the three-year graduate art program at the School of Art at UH.
Although Houston is known as having one of the best art scenes in the state, she was homesick and missed her friends.
“Moving to a new place is really scary,” she said. “I came here by myself, and I was terrified. I was thinking of letting go of an old home or an old place that you lived and sort of embracing the present.”
Some of the materials she uses in her work are photography, spray paint, tape and discarded construction material.
“The photographs are things that I sort of collect,” Laszczynski said. “One of them has a tiny cat in it. It’s a found photo, but it sort of looks like my roommate’s cat.”
As for the discarded material, Laszczynski said she usually gets inspired by walking around, finding things and finding the potential in them.
“That’s usually what it boils down to — just silly little eye-catching things,” she said, adding that she often finds the materials around a warehouse, the Heights or even a dollar store.
Laszczynski is working on a few more pieces for the upcoming show. One piece was inspired by her walk to the sculpture building.
“There was a mixtape just in the grass with all these flowers, and I thought it was a really beautiful image,” Laszczynski said. “I sort of made up this narrative about someone making a mixtape and then throwing it in the grass after a breakup. It was a good point to just make something about that experience that I potentially saw in it.”
Laszczynski said a lot of the work she creates happens in the moment or intuitively.
“I’m really interested in looking at things and seeing the potential in things can be discarded or overlook,” Laszczynski said. “Stressing the experience and the materiality is almost more important than the title or the longing feeling, but for me, it’s really the aim for someone to want to experience it again and discover new things and see paint in a different way.”
She is working on a piece that she hopes will become a favorite, called “A Group of Luxurious Objects,” inspired by an art piece at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
“I think it would be pretty interesting to go,” said geology junior Mark Ferguson. “I enjoy photography and it sound like she has a personal connection to her work.”
Another piece she’s working on involves an installation of paint skins. She had a similar piece in a November show in which the paint skins were attached to the wall. She received a lot of positive feedback and is working on a larger scale with the paint skins.
“I would go see it,” said nutritionist junior Natalie Avina. “She’s like a scavenger for her art. She’s very eclectic.”
“Always Plus One Day” will have an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, and the exhibit will run through April 11. For more information, visit www.fresharts.org.