the artist

Melissa Conroy

Photo Credit: J. Shermeta

Melissa Conroy

Philadelphia, PA

Melissa Conroy

Artist Melissa Conroy currently lives in Northwest Philadelphia where there is ample opportunity to draw trees.  Trees and forests offer a multilayered narrative to draw from as an artist.  Their branches grow and spawn offspring that twist and tangle, growing upward in pursuit of light.  While the branches grow and entwine with neighboring trees, the roots do the same unseen, underground.  Trees offer shelter to us as well as to countless other animals and bugs.  At the same time, the spaces within and between trees contain a mystery that is both intriguing and a bit fearful.  Conroy describes her relationship to nature as passionate, complex and unsettled.  As an artist, she is concerned with the relationship forests contain between the sky and the ground, the roots and the branches, the bugs and the birds.  Her drawings are a meditation on the cyclical nature of forests as well as the mystery and magic they contain.  The work that the Pennsylvania Convention Center acquired from her is from a series of large scale print patterns entitled “Forever Forest”.  The process for creating these images involved weeks of drawing on paper with pencil, followed by digital reconstruction to enhance the color, texture and repeatability of the images.  These prints are Conroy’s enchanted forest.

Gallery Photo Credit: J. Shermeta

Fast Facts

Name: Melissa Conroy


Place of Birth: Beaufort, South Carolina

BFA Painting 1991, Rhode Island School of Design
MFA Painting 1998, University of Georgia
MS Textile Design 2006, Philadelphia University

Notable or memorable instructors or mentors:
Richard Olson and Mel Chin at the University of Georgia. Claire Beevers and E.J. Herczyk at Philadelphia University. David Hammons came to critique our work while I was in Rome with RISD. That one encounter was enough to cause a significant impact on many of us.

Particular field of study or class work:
Narrative Illustration and Textile Design

Major influences/admired artists:
I may be more influenced by literature than visual artists. My influences include Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Annette Messager, Louise Bourgeois & Eva Hess, Mel Chin, Dorothy O’Connor, Yayoi Kusama

Favorite materials or media:
Drawing media, pencils, pen & ink and yarn for knitting.

School or university affiliation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
Philadelphia University

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