Melissa Beth Floyd Brings Satire and Humor to Her Paintings

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Melissa Beth Floyd (b.1979) graduated from Pratt Institute in New York City with a BFA in painting. She spent two decades living and working in Brooklyn, NY—as a bookseller, taxidermist, leather accessories designer, tutor, and mother. She began painting the figure in 2017 after a move to the American Midwest, focusing initially on found images of women. Her practice has evolved since the onset of the pandemic— exploring humor, cynicism, and confrontation in portraiture. She currently lives and works in Grand Rapids, MIchigan.

I am primarily interested in portraiture. My aim is to present the body in unconventional ways, each exploring contemporary issues surrounding gender, sexuality, humor, cynicism, and the grotesque in portraiture, as well as addressing the long and problematic history of the male gaze. Recently I have been making images of parties, crowds, and concerts-all things we’ve missed out on due to the pandemic. Personally, being in a crowd mask-free still causes a visceral discomfort, yet I fantasize about a COVID-free future—partying, traveling and dining with strangers, completely safe. These paintings straddle the lines between nostalgia and repulsion; cynicism and hope.

– Melissa Beth Floyd

For more information about Melissa, check out her Instagram.

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