Merrilee Challiss

My work is a meditation on the fact that everything going forward must be either an elegy (for what we have lost) or a celebration (of what we have left). Or both. My paintings picture my mind's tableaux of imagined realms, abstracted from reality and real forms. The paintings are failures of my attempts to represent energy and consciousness in its various stages, respective to the subject.  What is left of our world, despite our best efforts to destroy it, is still rife with wonder and beauty, fecundity and meaning. I see all natural systems, Man, Animal, and Spirit as connected and constantly overlapping and co-existing on conscious and unconscious levels. I locate myself and my role as artist, in a meditative state, in the liminal realm between elegy and celebration, where the spirit and the unconscious trump our waking reality.


Merrilee Challiss

Merrilee is an artist based in Birmingham, Alabama. 



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


2015           Source Energy, Julia Martin Gallery, Nashville, TN

2014           Everything, Obliquely, Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR

2011            New Works, Kentuck Art Gallery, Northport, AL

2004            By Hoof, Stitch, or Limb, Durbin Gallery, Doris Wainwright Kennedy Art Center at

Birmingham Southern College, Birmingham, AL

2002            Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

1999             Life Is Beautiful, Bare Hands Gallery, Birmingham, AL



2016          Losing My Edge! New Perspectives on Abstract Figurative Painting, University of              Montevallo, AL

2015           Works on Paper,  Julia Martin Gallery, Nashville, TN

                   It' Always OK to Color Outside of the Lines: the work of Tim Kerr & Friends

                  Troy University Rosa Parks MuseumMontgomery, Alabama

                   Turntable Touring Art Show, Fort Houston, Nashville, TN

2014            Turntable Tour, Fort Houston, Nashville, TN

                    Natocosm,  Cobb Lane Cooperative Gallery, Birmingham, AL

2012            Domy Books, Austin, TX

                    Alabama Chanin Studios, Florence, AL

2011            Litebox Gallery, Birmingham, AL

2010             New Works, Craftland Gallery, Providence, RI

2009             Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC

                     Gold & Silver, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

2007             The Seven Deadly Sins, 1301 Gallery, Omaha, NB

                     Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, Bare Hands Gallery, Birmingham, AL

                     Belcourt Theater, Nashville, TN

2006             Energy, Twenty First Street Studios, Birmingham, AL

                    Devotion to Thread, Paperboat Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

                    Handmade Nation, Poketo Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

                    Southern Gothic Now, Space 301, Mobile, AL

                    Flytrap Venus, Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, AL

2005             Four Seasons, Youngblood Gallery, Atlanta, GA

                    Organ Garden, Bucheon Gallery, San Francisco, CA

                    The Faux Show, Esther Klein Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

                    My Friends Are Friends of Friends, Camp Fig, Austin, TX

                    Birmingham's Best Young Artists, Schedler Minchin Fine Art, Birmingham, AL

2004             Hot for Teacher, Camp Fig, Austin, TX                                                          

                    The Vine that Ate the South, University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL

                    Mekong Jitney, Java Gallery, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

                    Stray Show, Butchershop Gallery, Chicago, IL

2003            Red Dot, Spector Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

                    SUMRUM: same same/different, Eyelounge Gallery, Phoenix, AZ

                    The Hive and the Pod, Work Play, Birmingham, AL

                     SUMRUM: same same/different, Birmingham Public Library, Birmingham, AL

                     Drawing for It, Spector Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

                     Alumni Show, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

2002             BLUE, Gulf Alternative Space, Fairhope, AL

                     G.O.R.A. in Modus, Eyedrum Gallery, Atlanta, GA

                     Gridlock, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA 

2001             Blunt, The Butchershop, Chicago, IL

                     Snapshots, Arcadia Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

                     Firsts: the Personal and the Historical, Bare Hands Gallery, Birmingham, AL

                     Cross Roads, Painted Bride Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2000             Sugar and Spice, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM

                     Art for Quill's Sake, MakeReady Press Gallery, Montclair, NJ

                    Decorating Seriously, Borowsky Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

                    Relish, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

                   In Part About the Body, University City Arts League, Philadelphia, PA

                   Thesis Show, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

                   Cleavage: an exhibition on the breast, Luther Bean Museum, Adams State College,

                    Alamosa, CO

1999            Sold Out, Freeman's Auction House, Philadelphia, PA

                    Cleavage: an exhibition on the breast, Jonson Gallery of the University of New Mexico,

                    Albuquerque, NM




2000            Apprentice, Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA

2000            MFA, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

1994            BA, University of Alabama at Birmingham



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



2015            Signal Fire, Portland, OR

                    Starry Night Residency, T & C, NM

2013            Signal Fire, Portland, OR