melissa k mursch is a creative with a practice existing between multiple realms. in may 2018, she received a bfa in studio arts
( focus in fiber arts ), along with a minor in art history, at the university of wisconsin-milwaukee. as an art administrator, she has extensive experience in programming, marketing, outreach, & communication for organizations like the uw-milwaukee studio arts & craft centre & the alaska state council on the arts. post-grad, melissa spent a year working in art education as a youth & family programming assistant at the milwaukee art museum & a classroom guide for sharp literacy. both positions instilled a passion for working with youth in her, which she continues while working with high school students in her current position as an admissions counselor at the milwaukee institute of art & design.
melissa’s fine arts practice still includes making fibrous works along with leading cultural & curatorial projects. in 2019 she curated the show “ alternative love ” at facilitating situations & led the visual art curating for milwaukee’s riverwest femfest 2019. her practice has also extended to poetry, which you can read in her self-published zine “ alternative love letters ”, as well as online at https://golddustmagazine.com .
in every thing she does, melissa continuously hopes to share her identities & vulnerabilities with others in hopes of creating deeper understanding, accessibility, & connection while using art as the vehicle to do so.
about my work
in its simplest terms, my work has always dealt with identity. identifying first & foremost as a woman, i find myself at the intersections of race & sexuality in my other identities as a mixed chicana bisexual individual. these intersections give me simultaneously unique and familiar experiences that mirror & speak to those with overlapping & different identities than mine. my work hopes to address these both shared & disparate experiences & begin conversations to bring attention to deeper rooted issues like class, colorism, gender roles, & sexual taboo.
the history of fibers makes it an incredibly powerful medium for me. though there are countless historical aspects to it, it began in the home &, in america in particular, kept women in their place to do “women’s work”. i believe that using fibers within a fine arts context to give myself & other marginalized people a voice to draw attention to oppression makes the message that much more revolutionary.
my artwork heavily utilizes embroidery, hand stitching, & sewing combined with dyeing & screen printing to explore these themes in fabric wall hangings, soft sculptures, & textile design. though my embroidery sometimes serves the purpose of embellishing, it more often is used as a drawing & writing method onto fabric --especially when incorporating writing into my works. i often use text as a tool to draw attention to nostalgic, handwritten sentiments that the paired context of embroidery’s history lends a rich layer to.
one thing consistently holds true of my practice: the conceptual & making processes of these pieces start with an every day life occurrence that triggers a realization about a broader issue i’d like to explore both internally & through dialogue with others.