Margaret Mellis(1914-2009) is a kindred spirit of scraps and color. Her work begins with painting, and moves into sculpture and driftwood collage, the latter which she began in her 60’s. She describes her concern:
‘I wanted the colours to find the kind of strength which would simultaneously let them work at full strength and integrate with themselves and the shapes of the structure.’ (National Galleries Scotland)
Mellis eventually was acknowledged as at the beginnings of British Modernism and she had a Circle of artist friends at Cornwall. I remember taking a class as an undergraduate at Hampshire College called, “Mary Shelley and Her Circle” and being taken with the idea of the constellation of friends all being part of the story.
The driftwood constructions reminded me of the Laura Petrovich-Cheney exhibit I saw at the Michener in November 2015, of sculptures in wood from Superstorm Sandy. Ian Collins describes Mellis’ materials as “combining beachcombed finds of vividly coloured bits of boats and beach-huts, kippering boards and medieval timbers gouged by deathwatch beetles into honeycomb.”
An excerpt from Margaret Mellis: A Life in Colour