Melissa Eder creates photo-based works and installations, concentrating on single, large-scale still-life photography. In an attempt to document issues in female identity, popular culture and kitsch—she depicts an obsessive number of mismatched objects as portraits or mismatched landscapes on rich hues of bright pink, crimson, ultramarine, Klein blue, orange, and other colors associated with Pop Art. Objects range from found objects or collected trinkets from 99-cent stores. She finds plastic fruits, editable junk food, teddy bears, plastic flowers, miniature mementos, and toys: Cheetos, oranges, bananas, cupcakes, crowns, trumpets, tacos, suitcases, Dots candy, slippers. Her backdrops consist of heavy velvet drapery and rich papers, which frame her objects in a neoclassical eloquence.
Her landscapes amalgamate an array of discarded materials as an open diary of Eder’s day, present or past, that transcends into an impression on all of us. Aesthetics and a cultural references blend on the surface of her controlled studio shot, drenched with lighting. Her ongoing project (started in 1995), Sense of Herself, Eder has compiled over 750 eight-by-ten-inch portraits of the mundane. Motivated by Pop artists’ intention to decadently expose commodification, Eder began with paintings of cake as a child in 1967. Now, she plays with the layers of complexities created by the individual, culture, production, product, in of itself. Without a critical lens, Eder embraces Twinkies and other things that she enjoys, as well as their place in our history.
Currently, Eder lives and works in New York City. She received her B.F.A. in painting from Parsons School of Design, NY, where she studied with Sean Scully, and her M.F.A. in combined media from Hunter College, NY, where she studied under Robert Morris. She received a Meritorious Award from Hunter College Alumni Association. She was an artist-in-residence at Henry Street Settlement, NY; Saltonstall Foundation in Ithaca, NY; Atlantic Center for the Arts, FL, and; as selected by photographer Graciela Iturbide.
Her work has been shown nationally and internationally at venues such as: Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York University’s Broadway Windows Gallery, Art in General, the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Paragraph Gallery in Kansas City, Miss. She created a permanent art installation a former kindergarten in Stadtlengsfeld, Germany. In 2011, her work was selected by Eric C. Shiner, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum, for his curated exhibit on CurateNYC. Eder’s work has been included in The New York Times along with other art publications. Melissa Eder’s photography has continued to win recognition in numerous group exhibitions. In 2014 her work was featured in the first annual Aperture Summer Open Exhibition at Aperture Gallery, curated by Aperture’s Executive Director Chris Boot. Fast Company profiled the artist’s Fake Flowers-series. In May 2015 Melissa Eder was profiled by the Huffington Post in Meet The Contemporary Photographers Experimenting With ‘Radical Color’ by Maddie Crum.