Merrilee Challiss
ARTIST STATEMENT

I am motivated by the following concerns: 

What is the artist's role in society?

How can art be used as a channel to elevate our level of understanding that everything is connected, so that we will learn to live in harmony with the land, other species and with each other? 

As a multi-media artist, my responses are meditations (manifested in the form of images, objects, and installations) on these themes.

For me the answer lies somewhere in the liminal realm of spiritual remediation (envision a venn diagram of where art and spirituality meet and overlap) to repair the broken bond between man and nature and spirit. The knowledge that everything going forward must be either an elegy for what we have lost or a celebration of what we have left propels me forward. I try to make work that engages with these big ideas and bigger mysteries while fostering a connection and conversation about these ideas with the viewer. 

My chief aims (my reach seemingly always just outside my grasp) are therefore aspirational:  1) to make work that explores the interconnection of all things 2) to re-enchant the world 3) to promote the evolution of consciousness. I believe that artists can and do serve as tenders and menders of society and can function as portals to the imaginal realms, tapping into the source of the collective imagination, so that we may begin to heal the world. 

BIO

Born in Cleveland, OH in 1971, Merrilee Challiss is a multi-media artist currently living and working in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to being an artist, she spent seven years working at Studio By The Tracks (a non-profit art studio providing free art instruction to adults on the autism spectrum), and ten years running a DIY music venue/ bar/ café (BottleTree Café). She holds a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA. She has received grants from Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the Leeway Foundation.

CV

b. 1971 (Cleveland, OH), lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama

EDUCATION

BA Studio Arts, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1994

MFA Sculpture, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 2000

Post-Graduate Apprenticeship, Fabric Workshop and Museum 2000

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2018          

What is Love, Julia Martin Gallery, Nashville TN, September 2018

La La Land, Hall Barnett Gallery, New Orleans, LA, October 2018

Activating the Apparatus, B Complex, Atlanta, GA, October 2018

2017         

Superfine Art Fair (with Hall Barnett Gallery), Art Basel, Miami, FL

Uncommon Territory, Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, AL

Menagerie as Symbol, Ground Floor Contemporary, Birmingham, AL

Disappearing Act, Collaborative Sound Performance, as part of the opening of THIRD SPACE, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

2016        

SHIFT: A Temporary Platform for Social Exchange, a Birmingham Museum of Art Initiative, Birmingham, AL 

2010       

New Works, exhibit with Margaret Oomen, Craftland Gallery, Providence, RI 

2005       

Two person exhibit with Laura Ball, Bucheon Gallery, San Francisco, CA 

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019          

Nightvisions, Lowe Mill Gallery, Huntsville, AL

2018          

Portals, Hoover Public Library, Birmingham, AL

Indwellers and Other Beings: Small Works, Sanctum Art, Birmingham, AL

2017          

Call of the Void, Joy Gallery, San Francisco, CA

The Void and the Eye, Julia Martin Gallery, Nashville, TN

2016           

Haus of Shamanista, Lowe Mill, Huntsville, AL

The Origins of Life and Other Fairy Tales, AKA/ PDX, Portland, OR

2015           

Source Energy, Julia Martin Gallery, Nashville, TN

2014           

Everything, Obliquely, Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR

2004            

By Hoof, Stitch, or Limb, Durbin Gallery, Doris Wainwright Kennedy Art Center at Birmingham Southern College, Birmingham, AL

2002            

Her Mind’s Livers and Her Heart’s Knives, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

2019               Voyage Houston, January 

2018                Open Color Magazine, May 

2015                Art & Antiques, article by Edward Gomez, September

2015, 2005      New American Paintings Quarterly, Southeast Edition

 

AWARDS / HONORS

2005             Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant

2004            

Emerging Artist Award, Magic City Art Connection, Birmingham, AL

2000             

Window of Opportunity Award, The Leeway Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

 

RESIDENCIES

2013, 2015           Signal Fire, Portland, OR

2015                     Starry Night Residency, Truth or Consequences, NM