Curious things happen when a painting gets turned sideways or upside down. I did this to two of Kaitlyn Melvin’s canvases and suddenly random contours became rolling hills leading to a vast horizon; mauve and rose stripes resolved into the wide bands of a pastel sunset; floating squares settled into a row of squat buildings; curved lines traced pathways across the land. A third painting was already filled with striated vertical shapes that suggested a cross between jagged cliffs and a dense mass of skyscrapers, so I left it upright. Melvin’s paintings are thinly painted, with little depth and much drawing. It can be hard to know quite what to make of them without the kind of anchor that landscape provides: floating about in non-space is not as compelling as it might seem. The surprise isn’t so much that a grounding in the three-dimensional is necessary here—it is in many facets of life and art—but that it turns out to have been there all along.
—Lori Waxman 3/25/17 10:23 AM