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Malin Gallery is pleased to announce representation of New York-based artist Melissa Stern. Working in sculpture, assemblage, painting, drawing, collage, and digital media, Stern’s faux naïf artworks address matters of philosophy, politics, history, gender, and memory.

Stern relates her artistic process to the work of a handyperson “cobbling together drawings and sculptures from elements found, borrowed, and imagined.” She views her sculptures as three-dimensional drawings, and her drawings as two-dimensional sculptures, stating, “I don’t understand why painters stop at the edge. I think you should just keep going.” The tableaux depicted in many of Stern’s paintings on wood extend beyond the front of the panel to the sides and back of the support- her figures, and the stories they tell, refuse to be boxed in.

Stern jointly possesses degrees in anthropology and studio art, and her works reflect the influence of non-Western and outsider art, as well as a prevailing interest in human memory and story-telling. Describing the figures in her works as “little people who live in my head,” the artist encourages the viewer to make a personal connection with the figures and scenes depicted therein. The viewer can relate Stern’s figures to herself or people she has met in her life, and these associations can bring up forgotten memories and experiences from her subconscious, creating a dialogue between viewer and subject.


Clay, wood, paint, sculpture

Housebound, 2019

Clay, wood, paint.

23" x 10" x 9"

Charcoal, oil paint

My Hair, 2019

Charcoal, oil paint.

18" x 22"

Charcoal, graphite, oil paint

My House, 2019

Charcoal, graphite, oil paint.

44" x 46"

Stern acknowledges that people read anger, disappointment and loneliness in her art, but she successfully bridges the line between dark and humorous. “People who look at my work quickly think it’s funny, people who look a bit longer think it’s really dark, and people who look a third time get that it’s funny and dark… Love is sometimes full of anger. Anger can be as a result of sadness, and so on.” Stern’s works, like humans, are a rich combination of emotions.



Melissa Stern (b. Philadelphia, PA) is an artist, critic, journalist, curator, and educator residing in New York City. Her multi-media installation exhibition, The Talking Cure, has been traveling to museums around the United States since 2012.

Recent solo exhibitions include Garvey Simon Gallery (New York, NY); The Kranzberg Center for Contemporary Art (St. Louis, MO); Station Independent Projects (New York, NY); The Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis, MN); The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL); and Redux Contemporary Art Center (Charleston, SC).

Her works reside in the permanent collections of JP Morgan, The American Museum of Ceramic Art, News Corporation, The Arkansas Art Center, The Racine Art Museum,  and The Kohler Corporation.

Stern serves as a contributing writer for Hyperallergic. Previously, she served as principal art critic for The New York Press. She is a past Board Director of The Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC and Watershed Center in Maine. She was contributing curator of the Human Rights Film Festival from 2008 to 2015.

Stern’s art has been cited in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Hyperallergic, and New York Arts.

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