We See No Strangers, But ourselves — Maryanne Meltzer’s Stranger Series

Maryanne Meltzer (1922-2014) is remembered as a vibrant personality and a strong voice for women in the art community. Having studied with Otis Dozier and Jerry Bywaters in her earlier years, at the age of 67 she went to complete her masters degree in Aesthetic Studies, under Argentina-born artist Kazuya Sakai.


Figures are the core of Meltzer’s work. In them, she strives to explore the aesthetic limits of the medium while maintaining her focus in the condition of the society, which, despite with modern technologies, seem to separate os with impassable barriers.

Meltzer depicts human figures as to whom we would relate subjectively, but often can only regard objectively.

The lack of gestures and expressions in “Large Solitary Figure” convey his or her essential impotency. Repetitions of pictorial elements also rob figures of their individuality and personality.

Meltzer exhibits the same kind of physicality and energy in the de-humanizing process of figural fragmentation, employed by De Kooning and Bacon. But it is essentially Edward Hopper and George Tooker, with whom  she feels a strong kinship in the passivity of bodily language.

Strangers, as the show is titled, speaks of the distressful alienation and universal feelings of helpless entrapment. With them, Meltzer asks us all to join her, to speak, to act, and to influence the fate of humanity.

In addition to her large scale oil paintings, the show also many of Metlzer’s prints.

Unlike her large scale oil paintings, Melzer’s prints, mostly monotypes, express her view of pure joy in color, shape and design. They are active, energetic and even flamboyant.

Meltzer,Fort Worth Community Arts Center

One can only imagine and marvel at the laborious process by which these prints are produced.

Metlzer achieves tremendous variety in color and texture by many techniques of handling printing block or printed surface – Brush strokes, spatter, woven or knit fabrics, scoring overprinting, and pastel drawing, etc.

In her own words: I must admit I am somewhat impatient with rules and often try to work with techniques or materials I’m told shouldn’t be used – occasionally with some success.

Strangers: The Art of Maryanne Meltzer will be on display at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center beginning August 15.

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