Melissa Furness is an artist that treats painting as a conceptual object that challenges history. Her work explores the idea of ruin as public site and expressed narratives of personal struggle.
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Melissa Furness received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Iowa. Her work has been most influenced by her experiences of travel, which have included artist’s residencies around the world, most recently with those at Yaddo in upstate New York, the Laznia Center of Contemporary Art in Gdansk, Poland; at Shankill Castle in County Kilkenny, Ireland; and with Red Gate Gallery in Beijing, China. In 2014, Furness was awarded a competitive fellowship to participate in the 2015 Biennial of the Americans, through which she resided in Mexico City as an Art Ambassador and exhibited a major project produced based on these experiences.
Furness’ work has progressed up to this point from significant earlier exhibitions such as those at the Des Moines Art Center, the winning of a competitive exhibition juried by Jessica Stockholder at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut, as well as an exhibition at the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, Washington. From there, she was invited to participate in competitive artist residencies and fellowships with Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California, and with the Hungarian Multicultural Institute in Balatonfüred, Hungary through which she exhibited major works in California as well as at Vizivarosi and Keki Galleries and The Drawing Room HU in Budapest.
Furness’ work has been represented by Lo River Arts Gallery in Beacon, New York, Fetherston Gallery in Seattle, Washington as well as Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, in Zurich, Switzerland and the former Plus Gallery in Denver. Through these galleries, she was featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions as well and international art fairs in Seoul, Korea, Zurich Switzerland, and Cologne, Germany. She is currently represented by K Contemporary Art in Denver and continues to exhibit work at national and international art fairs through her current gallery.
Fish Tank Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn put on a solo exhibition of Furness’ work, and she was awarded a solo exhibition at CoLAB Projects in New Orleans, Louisiana. She exhibited work for several years with the Primo Piano LivinGallery in Lecce, Italy, and with Archangel Gallery in Palm Springs, California.
The artist is an alumni member of A.I.R. Gallery in New York, through which she had several New York and traveling exhibitions and worked with significant curators such as Jill Conner, Luci Li, Charlotta Kottik, and Rocío Aranda-Alvarado. She was also selected to exhibit work in the 2016 Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India with A.I.R. Furness is a current member of the Artnauts Collective and Pink Progression. These collectives use the visual arts as a tool for addressing social issues while connecting with artists from around the world.
Her work has been featured in publications such as New American Paintings, Flash Art, Klassik International Magazine, 303 Magazine, Studio Visit Magazine, the Westword, Denver Post and others. Furness is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Colorado Denver.