The Ultimate Sandwich
2007 by Melanie Russell
Graduating from her MFA at Slade in 2004, Russell has been consistently lively throughout the noughties, having been nominated for and winning various prizes, as well as undertaking a residency at the Mount House Gallery, Marlborough in 2006/7. Her work is unashamedly colourful in much the same way as someone like Miro’s — it is by no means governed or carried by its colour alone, but bright colour becomes inherent in its design. Block colour on white can most certainly be depended on for impact and Russell manipulates this with her curious and malleable looking shapes. Tossed about her canvases, these shapes have a liveliness that renders them with a playful energy; as if whatever composition Russell has them take, they could easily slip out to enigmatically rearrange. The title of this collage certainly embellishes this playful concept, as our interpretation of her abstractions immediately takes on humorous meaning with ‘The Ultimate Sandwich’. These somewhat precarious looking towers suddenly morph to a variation of tasty fillings, forming a piled-high sandwich of ridiculous size. Edges, frilly or cut sharp, become possible lettuce leaves or strips of cheese, before the determination to view them as what you originally saw them as takes over once again. This is the possibility of ambiguous art, where sometimes specifically indicating subject allows the imagination to stretch even further.