Redefining the notion of authorship, Melgaard’s paintings are conceived not as pictures, but as excerpts from his ongoing painterly novels; which alongside his extended practice of sculpture, installation, and product design contrive elaborate meta-fictions that excavate the darkest depths of sub-culture. Blurring the bounds between abject degeneracy and shameless opulence Melgaard draws from all manner of inspiration, from heavy metal to art history, cartoons to porn, to articulate his subversive narratives and embellish his notorious cast of star characters.
Inside Patricia presents new canvases from Melgaard’s ongoing Synthetic Slut series. Based on archive imagery from New York’s infamous Plato’s Retreat swingers club, wonton debauchery and heathen indulgence become metaphors and literal backdrops for Melgaard’s approach to painting. Sex club scenes re-rendered with hyper-realist sheen are further debased with graffiti brushwork as Melgaard rewrites the scripts for his own deliciously perverse plots. Stylistically veering from hardcore realism to pure expressionistic filth, these scenes culminate as audacious money-shots. Melgaard’s approach to paint is gluttonously polygamous; his masterful technique is turned to ornamenting the lewd, procuring formal purity as raw pictographs.
His paintings are wholesale signifiers of desire and violence, pimped up and pimped out for naughty semiotic games. In one canvas a couple captured in typical banality-of-sleaze snapshot are hijacked as a diagram for image deconstruction; its crude criticism-cum-therapy analysis delivered by a vivacious botox-lipped pig. In another, hedonistic entanglement is dissected and labelled for user-friendly participation: beneath its shambolic orgy pile, scrawled instruction label texts leave no doubt it’s ‘us’ the viewers who suck dick. Even Melgaard’s mother’s ever lovable Chihuahua has waywardly gone on the game, his dirty deeds traced in baby-boy blue on a ‘sentimental’ postcard memento. Accompanying these works a new canvas introduces Melgaard’s recently appropriated hero: transplanted from Sesame Street’s wholesome idyll to Melgaard’s down and out world, the unease of being green is the least of Kermit The Frog’s problems. Recast as a smack-head, gentle Kermit takes his place amongst the rest of Melgaard’s dysfunctional cohort. Another Darwinian beast in a jungle where there’s no rules of right or wrong: only the ever shuffling hierarchy of victims and bastards, doing their best to get by in Melgaard’s ever expanding plots of moral quandary and irresistible temptation.
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