Melissa Farris is an artist, gallerist, project manager, and event director. From 2015-2018 she served as Galleries, Exhibits, and Lectures Coordinator at Memphis College of Art, and is currently the Director of Events and Marketing at Avon Acres. Her personal work has been exhibited at galleries across the region from CrosstownArts to ArtsMemphis, MCA to Marshal Arts Gallery. She has curated, coordinated, and directed countless exhibits and creative community events, including LeBonhuer’s Art of Science, MCA’s Annual Holiday Bazaar, and LeMonster.
This series of small paintings is part of a collection Farris calls “Happy Cannibals”. They are the cute, grotesque, delicious, creepy progeny of the artist’s swirling developmental experiences, aesthetic influences, half formed ideas, and feelings. “I can’t really tell you what they mean,” the artist says, “but I can tell you what I’m thinking about when I make them.” Choices ranging from color, subject matter and the application of media are heavily influenced by Mid-Century design, marketing, and illustration. Content is informed by the artists uncomfortable relationship with the gendered socio-cultural expectations that were ubiquitous during that era of American culture and continue to influence everything from parenting to politics today. The work is also shaped by the dislocated relationship between consumer experience with food and the reality of animal production, farming, and consumption. As she works Farris also considers the lasting impacts Futurism, Industrialisation, and Plasticization on the environment and public health. The resulting works can be interpreted broadly and elicit coos as often as discomfort.