This collection, Vandenberg says, has provided the perfect outlet for her while she prepares to apply for tenure as an assistant art professor at Eastern Kentucky University.
“As an academic I’m ready to hit the ground running with projects I’ve spent all year dreaming about," says Vandenberg, who is sharing the first floor of the Loudoun House with painter Lori Larusso. Both are Kentucky-based artists who routinely exhibit their work around the country. They will reveal their new works at the end of the summer in a public exhibition. For now, viewers can watch their work-in-progress each Tuesday during open studio hours.
Vandenberg is not interested in providing one singular message through her work, but rather in sparking the notion of activism. Through her current collection, made partly from or inspired by politically driven paraphernalia, she hopes to open a discussion about political doctrine, no matter ones ideology.
“I’m fascinated by the reasons why people align themselves left or right, red or blue…those colors are repeated throughout the works,” she said.
For much of her artwork Vandenberg uses actual US flags, which may be construed as controversial, but she feels otherwise. All flags used in her work are either dirty or damaged to begin with, so she views this repurposing as a sort of rescue.
Vandenberg often works with found objects and everyday domestic goods and is interested by the sentimentality of materials. “It’s incredibly human, but at the same time awfully silly to project these feelings on a piece of cloth.”
“Does the quilt bleed when I cut it?” she says.
Don’t forget to stop by the Loudoun House on Tuesdays between 10am and 4pm to experience Melissa Vandenberg and Lori Larusso in action as they create their artwork. In Residence opens September 5th.