I make work about feminism and labor using the mop, an everyday object, as a point of departure. To be blunt, I’ve had an ongoing obsession with mops, feminism and labor. Drawing, painting, sculpture and installation are practiced as I delve into these topics. I start with the personal: making self-portraits, repeating textures and lines over and over to self soothe, and embracing the repetitive nature of craft that keeps my hands busy allowing my mind to wander. I expand the work to offer my community moments of respite, while they get lost in the repetitions and textures I create, come together to share through making and conversation, and make time for maintenance. Through this all I process the continual stream of input from the world that challenges me to make change.
With the introduction of fiber, aka mop, the work has begun to lean heavily on craft and how craft can be used as a form of maintenance. I define maintenance as caring for oneself and one’s community, a necessity, not a frill. I want to create space for maintenance.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Melissa Dorn is a Milwaukee artist obsessed with industrial mop heads, feminism, and labor. Her sculpture, paintings, and installations directly and indirectly utilize craft, pulling at threads of her history, midwesterness, and the ordinary.
Selected exhibitions: Sarah Ball Allis Art Museum, Charles Allis Art Museum; Soft Power, Minneapolis College of Art and Design Concourse Gallery; 3 Faces of Eve, 5 Points Gallery; Made in Paint, The Sam & Adele Golden Gallery; Existing in Thought, Scout Gallery; Tension in the Ordinary, James May Gallery; Mobile Home, Var Gallery; Infauxstructure, Opalka Gallery, Sage College; The Book Club: What Would We Do With Lynne Tillman, Frank Juarez Gallery; Mopping Up, Frank Juarez Gallery; The Jump Off, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art; Detroit Biennale, Museum of New Art; Wisconsin Artists Biennial, Museum of Wisconsin Art; Preservatif, Stockholm Gallery; Forward 2014, Charles Allis Art Museum; Up, Down!, River Edge Gallery; Schematic, UW-Sheboygan; Eight Counties, John Michael Kohler Arts Center; Art Chicago and Aqua Art Miami, Hotcakes Gallery.
Select collections: Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel; Northwestern Mutual; Mandel Group; UW Hospital and Clinics; Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Dorn earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.
© Melissa Dorn