Melinda Young loves plastic flowers. Not for decorating her dining room table with, but for pulling apart, for discovering what wonderful elements they are composed of – here, a pile of yellow stamens, another of green spiky seedheads, and over there, a pile of pale pink petals. Disassembled in this way, fresh textures and shapes are discovered, to be reassembled with a wide array of other materials – plywood, pearls, silver, rubies and rubber o-rings.
Colour is an important element of her work, and is the visual glue that binds together many of these disparate materials. (I’ve noticed there’s lots of pink.) Strings of beads are another common thread through much of her work, and these also demonstrate her playfully idiosyncratic approach – a group of jade beads alternates with a pack of sequins and glass; a length of coral beads is punctuated by a plastic leaf. Reinterpreting mundane items is a game she plays with colour, texture, and form, and pieces usually take traditional forms of jewellery – lariat, lei, pendant, brooch.
Melinda works in two ways – production work for sale, and exhibition work – but sometimes the boundary is blurry. Quirkiness, wearability and story-telling appear in varying measures in each piece, pushing the work one way or another; but the work is always tactile and consistently intriguing. I look at each piece like a new narrative – each group of materials conveys new ideas. Where did this come from, and with these new combinations, what has it now become?
I find Melinda’s work endlessly fascinating, equal parts humorous and beautiful. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.