Angela Meleca Gallery Celebrates One Year with Theresa Pfarr Exhibit

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Today, Sept. 19, marks one year from when Angela Meleca first opened her Downtown gallery.

The space at 144 E. State St. had a total of seven exhibits throughout the past 12 months, and Meleca said she's been honored to present each and every one.

"It's hard to say whether it's gone fast or not," she says. "I just keep doing… Each show I keep thinking I don't know if it can feel any better than this. I just keep getting inspired to find more work and fantastic artists to bring to Columbus."

You can read more about Meleca's love for art in our September 2013 profile here.

She's celebrating her one-year anniversary with a trip to see Cincinnati artist Jordan Tate, who will show his work at her gallery next February. She'll come home to get her kids from school, and then she'll head to the Wexner Center's opening tonight.

"I'm celebrating by doing what I love to do in that I'm looking at art and speaking with artists," she says.

She's also marking this milestone with a show of paintings, titled "Second Skin," from New Jersey-based artist Theresa Pfarr.

This exhibit, which Meleca calls "striking" and "dramatic," is made up of female figures distorted, exaggerated and molded into the fashion and advertising industries' ideals of a woman's body.

"Elements coexist in the paintings to describe the anxiety associated with inhabiting a medial self-consciousness," Pfarr writes in her artist's statement. "Edges disintegrate, limbs distort, paint melts into skin, and glances confront in discord."

"Second Skin," which opened on Sept. 18, runs through Nov. 1.

We talked with Meleca about the exhibit, what she's learned in her first year and what year two will bring.

-Taylor Starek, @taylorstarek

On Theresa Pfarr…

She really feels inundated with all this imagery from the fashion industry on what we should look like and how we're portrayed and this perfection… What messaging does that send to women? She deconstructs the images, and she makes collages with them to form her own figure of a woman to show how that perfection that the fashion industry shows meets with reality and everyday society… Some of the work can be very strong. It could be a negative in the sense that it's frustrating to feel like you have to live up to these expectations.

On Pfarr's creative process…

Most of her finished paintings are large 48-by-48 inch oil on canvas paintings. They're really striking, primarily because of the scale. What she's done [for the exhibit] are studies where she shows how her creativity process began. She cuts images out of these ads and she collages them, so she'll morph many different ads together into one image. She starts to form ideas for what she's going to create into these large-scale finished products… I thought it might be nice to show the process, so she's included four of those collages. It's really the height of her creativity. She had never shown the collages as artwork themselves-they would just become trash… so it's given her a different perspective, and she'll be saving those more in the future and showing those as well.

On what year one has taught her…

I feel really blessed and fortunate that I've had the opportunity to open the gallery and work with fantastic artists. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here. It's a collaborative effort and I tell people that there's so much trust between an artist and someone who runs a gallery. I rely on them to be as creative as possible and they entrust me to take care of their work. They just want people to see their work.

On her biggest challenge…

I wanted to create a gallery that I would enjoy going to, and I feel a responsibility to the artist and to the people coming to view the art that I offer a place that is thought-provoking but not intimidating, that's interesting, a little experimental, a little challenging to see and understand but that's welcoming and warm. In developing the gallery, those were the words that I really kept repeating over and over. How do you create a space that incorporates all of those adjectives? That's what I've been focusing on. Now my personal challenge is to maintain that.

On what's next…

I have six or seven different shows already booked for next year. I've noticed that people generally like longer shows. It gives them time to come in and revisit, so shows generally will be between six and seven weeks long. I've got them lined up through November. It'll be a mix of artists. I have some local, a couple from Chicago, some throughout Ohio, so it's a mix of artists, and that's kind of the intent. I didn't want to pigeonhole myself.

On what she's most looking forward to…

I look forward to the lineup that I have, and I think that I'll continue to evolve and explore different mediums, like Jordan Tate does photography, and that's something I haven't really shown yet. Nick George is another artist, and he just got his MFA from OSU, so he and I have been talking, and he'll be doing a show next April. He does fantastic large-scale photography. So I'll continue evolving as a business owner and gallery owner. I look forward to building new relationships and strengthening the ones I've established this year.