Fredericksburg native Melissa Starry celebrates her art and her life with a one-woman show Turning 60 - VaRoom with a View on August 5 - September 3, 2011, at the Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram.
Opening Night Reception
VaRooming through life
by Phil Houseal
How do you deal with passing a birthday milestone?
Some of us might pull off the road. Some pull out a bottle. Some just (gasp!) ignore it. But Fredericksburg native Melissa Starry refuses to go softly... she is baring her soul and artistic vision with a sassy one-woman exhibit, Turning 60 - VaRoom with a View!
(The “story-wall retrospective” runs August 5 - September 3, 2011, at the Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram)
“This is somewhat of a retrospective - a perspective - an introspective,” Starry said. “It’s a mixture of my experiences, dreams, places I’ve been, and self-portraits.”
The act of having the show itself is part of the art - a one-woman show was on Starry’s “bucket list.”
“Within this show I am including things I wanted to do; things I haven’t done yet; some things that I have done; and things I want to do but will never do.”
And she puts them together with her sense of playfulness, and perhaps, tongue in cheek. For example, as a girl, Starry wanted to be a jockey (“Well, that ain’t happening,” she admitted). So she made a painting of herself guiding a racehorse down the downs. She once got to ride on the back of a circus horse, so she did a little painting of that scene, then collaged in her face.
Starry visited The Gates in New York - one of artist Christo’s monumental exhibits of orange fabric draped over Central Park. Included.
Flying on a trapeze? There is Melissa, in a soaring triptych on a painted background.
“My husband said, gosh, you have quite a few works with you in them,” she laughed. “Well, it is all about me. But, then, it’s not all about me.”
The exhibit comprises about 74 pieces. It includes nine more pensive photo series she calls “Ponder,” a series of photos of inner city Chicago, and “a lot of other stuff.”
Describing her personal approach to art, Starry explains that she likes to “build” a picture. She utilizes printmaking, acrylics, oil pastels, photography, found objects, and collage. The mediums are incidental; the subject matter “endless.”
She also pulls on her layers of experience as a photographer, hairstylist, business owner, and active volunteer. Starry grew up and attended school in Fredericksburg as Melissa Osbourn. After 19 years away, she moved back to the Hill Country.
So why should anyone else go along for this ride?
“That’s a good question,” she said, pausing before she replied. “It’s really a ‘road trip.’ This show has a sense of humor. It’s fun. It’s not just about pretty pictures; it’s about living life.”
That puckish point of view is evident in what she calls her “subtle self portraits,” such as a reflection of herself in the grill of one of the cars that also happens to be turning 60 this year.
“I guess it is pretty much all about me,” she admitted. “I’m having fun with art. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t be doing it. I hope it will bring big smiles.”
At the very least, you are certain to enjoy the view.