547 W 27th St, NY 10001
Strange Girls, an exhibition featuring Melissa Stern’s (b.1958) evocative and dark-witted works. Stern works across all media to include assemblage, ceramics, painting, drawings and collage. This is Stern’s first solo show with Garvey|Simon, and her ninth solo show in New York.
In Strange Girls, Melissa Stern explores the definition of girlhood as a state of being and state of mind. Stern’s sisterhood ranges from lusty pin-up girls to minimalist, geometric bodies, embracing all within the loving arms of femininity and oddity. Though all share an innate formal elegance, each is afflicted by a sense of imbalance and loss: figures stride proudly as they are bisected by their frames, and voluptuous, fishnet-clad legs are severed from their bodies. In Stern’s fantasyland, girlhood is juxtaposition: beauty afflicted by the melancholy of insufficiency. The work hits an emotional soft spot in all of us, echoing our desire to belong to the norm. “We are allstrange girls,” says Stern, “We all harbor some memory of feeling like an outsider, a stranger.”
Melissa Stern sources her images and allusions from magazines, knick-knacks, and other cultural detritus. She acts as both gatherer and creator, excavating and collecting vintage artifacts, and orchestrating these into open-ended narratives.