Melissa Loop graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2005 where she was awarded the Vanerlip Travel Grant for most promising artist. Loop was awarded a Minnesota State Arts board Artist Initiative Grant in 2017 and 2013. She was a 2012 Jerome Fellow. Loop's work has been exhibited in Portland OR, Austin TX, and Boston MA as well as local shows at the Minnesota Muesum of American Art, Burnet Gallery, Soo Visual Art Center, St. Cloud University Kiehle Gallery, Art of This, and Rosalux Gallery among others. Loop has also exhibited internationally at the National Galleries in Edinburgh Scottland and has an upcoming show at Johassen Gallery in Berlin Germany. She has been featured as one of Saatchi's “Artist to Watch” as well as one of “The Best of 2014”. Her work has been featured in publications and online including New American Paintings, Beautiful/Decay, Boooom!, Walker Art Center Blog, and Star Tribune. Loop is represented by GrayDUCK Gallery in Austin Texas and a member of the Rosalux Gallery in Minneapolis MN.
For these landscape paintings, I use my travels as a subject to explore notions of how we form assumptions about authenticity, place, and spirituality through our explorations and ill-informed ideas of other cultures.
I was in Tikal sitting on top of the highest temple after sunset with about a dozen other tourists. We were listening to our Mayan guide tell us a story about him and his twin brother born in the Rainforest. The Mayans believe that twins are of the gods. A sign of good luck. In the distance, the tops of the other temples peaked above the Rainforest and we watched a lightning storm dance in the sky. Part of the scene was a setup created for us tourists. However, part of it was a rare moment in time that contained all of the mystic and spiritual clarity that we search for when traveling to faraway places. The set up cliche became an actual moment of transcendence. By making these half fantasy paintings, I participate in the cliche. However, I can’t help but search for those rare moments where everything transcends and becomes magical again.