Merrilee Challiss 

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 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 where art-making and spiritual practice overlap -- to repair the broken bond between human 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. Obsessive collecting, mark-making and handiwork often characterizes my way of making things, and by offering a prayer or breath of intention in between the placing of each sequin by hand, or between each layer of paint for example, the work has become more mindful. Artists are portals to the imaginal realms --tapping into the source of the collective imagination – and may we, while here,  re enchant and heal the world.


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.


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


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




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


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


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


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


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




Nightvisions, Lowe Mill Gallery, Huntsville, AL


Portals, Hoover Public Library, Birmingham, AL

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


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

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


Haus of Shamanista, Lowe Mill, Huntsville, AL

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


Source Energy, Julia Martin Gallery, Nashville, TN


Everything, Obliquely, Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR


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


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



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



2005             Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant


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


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



2013, 2015           Signal Fire, Portland, OR

2015                     Starry Night Residency, Truth or Consequences, NM