Laundromat Art Space presented Worlds Behind You, the debut solo exhibition by Miami-based artist Melissa Wallen. Curated by Ray-Anthony Eddie, the presentation comprises several new and recent works from the artist’s ongoing series of dream-like “portal” paintings.


For her debut solo gallery exhibition, Wallen featured a series of paintings that explore the surreal and transformational power of color through shifting landscapes and biomorphic form. Worlds Behind You highlights the significance of abstraction within the artist’s practice, blurring the edges of where the body ends and consciousness takes shape.

Melissa Wallen (b. 1987, New Jersey, United States) is a painter and award-winning arts advocate whose expressionistic practice draws inspiration from a wide range of sources including memory and abstraction, underground music, poetry, and art history. She has participated in multiple group exhibitions in galleries and institutions across South Florida, including Laundromat Art Space, Bridge Red Studios, The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, and the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, as well as Mastodon Mesa Gallery in Hollywood, California.


Prior to graduating from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Fibers, Melissa assisted with opening the private art collection of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz to the general public in the Miami Design District in 2009. She currently holds the position of Director, overseeing the de la Cruz Collection’s signature scholarship programs and various educational initiatives, including partnerships with local arts high schools and colleges. In 2022, she was recognized as a Knight Arts Champion by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for her ongoing contributions toward improving access to contemporary art in Miami. Melissa currently lives and works in Miami Springs.

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