Candle smoke and encaustic on paper
8" x 10"
inspired by the song "Blackbird"
Born in the Bronx and raised in the family home that her grandfather built in the 1940s, Melanie Hulse moved to Ulster County in 2018. She holds a Certificate in Fine Art from the National Academy Museum and School, an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from Fordham University. She taught writing at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU and at the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center in Tarrytown.
My work reclaims art as an intimate, engaging activity, as a human activity on a human scale. I use simple, familiar tools and materials — a needle, some thread, and fabric enriched by wrinkles and stains; a pencil and paper; fire and wax; my pigment-stained fingers — and every mark is made by my hand. I like knowing how things are made, so I leave visible the traces of various kinds of making: stains, smudges, unevenness, fraying, accretion and erosion. Because the work generally takes a lot of time it tends to be about the value and effects of Time.
My self-imposed challenge is navigating the line between evocation and description, looking for how much is enough, finding (with luck, finding) the moment of “this much and no more.” I am interested in the enigma of beauty and in the evidence trail left by numinous and scientific explorations of the world. This evidence includes Paleolithic cave paintings and Aranda dreamtime maps, various myths and histories, and the natural world that is our primeval and ultimate home.
In our ever-shifting, accumulating, discarding, and accelerating world, what endures? How deep and wide and open might our understanding be?