In Finder, images of fern specimens from the George Vasey Herbarium layer and mingle with sixteenth century botanical engravings appropriated from John Gerard’s Herbal and with selections from Fern Finder, a contemporary pocket field guide to North American ferns. Finder locates its subject within a compost-like mixture of visual languages and aesthetic practices. The idealized and colonizing language of early modern engraving, the utilitarian generalization of diagrams, and the decaying plant forms and collection data of herbarium pages unmake and remake each other as abstraction, effecting a forest like space that invites consideration of how human order is imposed on nature.
Melissa Oresky’s practice is rooted in collage and painting and models a “plantlike” process in the studio by “growing” works through iterative processes, often over long periods of time. She has exhibited nationally and internationally with recent shows including Tripod Project Space, Busan, South Korea; K. Imperial Fine Art, San Francisco; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; and Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, Illinois. She also co-organized and participated in the project Collage Office, an experimental, charitable platform for artists to make work for visitors by appointment at The Franklin, Chicago. Oresky received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been a resident at Skowhegan. She teaches at Illinois State University where she is a Professor of Painting and Drawing.