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University of Colorado Denver

College of Arts & Media

Melissa Furness

Visual Arts Department

​Melissa Furness received an MFA in Painting with honors from the University of Iowa in 2002 with minors in both sculpture and printmaking. Her work has been most inspired by her experiences of travel, which have included artist’s residencies in the countries of Hungary and Poland, as well as those in the U.S. with Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California and the Corporation of Yaddo in upstate New York. She also regularly exhibits her work internationally, with group exhibitions including those at the Drawing Room HU in Budapest, Hungary; the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy; the Primo Piano LivinGallery in Lecce, Italy; and Kashya Hildebrand Gallery of Zurich, Switzerland.

Through her work, Furness is interested in the idea of travel, of our attraction to the unknown, the fragmentary, the imperfect, and the incomplete. The known turns into the unknown through the remains of physical, tangible forms in historical artifacts and ruins, which exist but remain incomplete. There are roots and routes that can be drawn, documenting both our line of travel from place to place, but also our line from present to past existence. These lines move in patterns as we rise up and out of the landscape and back down again to become one with it. It is as though we are leaping ever towards some unknown, a progressive distancing from origin. This distancing is a fantasy realm of invented spaces that have only partial basis in the real. It is this hybrid reality that comes together as a complex layering of space in her creative work.

Furness's 1, 2, and 3-person U.S. exhibitions have included those at Fetherston Gallery in Seattle, Washington; the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado; Plus Gallery in Denver, Colorado; Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California; the LoRiver Arts Gallery in Beacon, New York; Fish Tank Gallery in Brooklyn, New York; CoLAB Projects in New Orleans, Louisiana; and the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut. This last 2-person exhibition was the result of an award chosen by internationally recognized artist Jessica Stockholder following the juried show “Matter as Protagonist” at the Creative Arts Workshop. Her work has also been featured in numerous publications, such as New American Paintings by the Open Studios Press, the Manifest Creative Research Gallery’s International Drawing Annual 2008, the Creative Quarterly Journal of Art and Design, and ArtWorld Digest.

She is currently represented by Fetherston Gallery in Seattle, Washington and Plus Gallery in Denver, Colorado. 

Furness held the post of Assistant Professor of Art at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Washington for five years, before coming to the Visual Arts program at the University of Colorado Denver in the fall of 2007.