Melanie Kehoss
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Bitter Sweeter
Bitter Sweeter Installation View Bitter Sweeter Light Boxes Bitter Sweeter Installation View Bitter Sweeter Back Wall
Bitter Sweeter "Confectionery" Confectionery: Middle Ages Confectionery: India Confectionery: 1900
Bitter Sweeter: Installation from above Confectionery: Renaissance Confectionery:1900 Bitter Sweeter: Installation View

Bitter Sweeter, here pictured in Greater Reston Art Center, explores sugar’s global significance, including its often problematic production and consumption. The light boxes illustrate sugar’s spread westward from India, to the Mediterranean, to England and its colonies, to the USA. Silhouettes of laborers are pictured together with consumers, but often upside-down, suggesting fraught dynamics. Patterns inspired by the cultures of the laborers adorn each box, and appear as fine clothing prints and doilies. An artifact corresponds to each lightbox, including a subtlety (sugar sculpture) of a slave dwelling from a sugarcane plantation. These objects show how the forms and uses of sugar have evolved (or perhaps devolved) over the centuries, becoming whiter, cheaper, and more abundant.

Installation views of Mary B. Howard Invitational: STRETCH at Greater Reston Arts Center.
PPhoto credit: Charlotte Geary; courtesy of Greater Reston Arts Center.

Jeweled Traditions
Jeweled Traditions East Line Jeweled Traditions East Line From Above Jeweled Traditions West View
Jeweled Traditions-Easter in Foreground
Hanukkah and Diwali
Easter and Diwali From Above
Jeweled Traditions Against Windows
Jeweled Traditions West Line  Jump Rope for Heart Closeup  Hanukkah Closeup

In Jeweled Traditions, paper-cut scenes depict rituals of local families as remembered and enacted by summer campers at Arlington Arts Center. The children brainstormed their favorite rituals, sketched them, and used the sketches to direct their classmates in tableaux vivants. By transforming the photographs of these re-enactments into silhouettes, the specific memories become iconic, suggesting a collective memory. And like memory, the images are colored, pared-down, and often just out of reach.

Thanks to my campers, Addie, Ally, Margaret, Riley, Karan, Josephine, Elena, Sophia, Charley, Aisling, Fuyuka, Gus, Kaleb, and Marie, and to my awesome classroom assistant, Augusto. Thanks also to Marsha Semmel for your ideas, Cynthia Connolly for your encouragement, Kaveh for your support, and wonderful AAC staff and volunteers.

This program was supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts.



  All artwork Copyright 2019, Melanie Kehoss