Bonnie Meltzer’s very mixed media sculpture — wall works and free standing– uses crocheted wire, digital photography, painted wood and all sorts of found objects from computer parts to credit cards to make social commentary that is often humorous. Her figures are often life sized, cut out of wood or metal with voids filled with transparent crocheted wire. Layer upon layer of shapes, objects and materials give richness to the surfaces and add to the storytelling. For example, in IN SIGHT the void is filled with eye glasses which look through to a layer of collaged old black and white family photographs. The lenses magnify the pictures and bring them into view.
For decades recycled junk has been a primary art material. Keeping things out of the landfill is a motivation but their intrinsic beauty and the opportunities for symbolism are the primary reasons. Computer parts with their intrusion into every aspect of our lives have given her a symbolic, visual and verbal vocabulary that has dominated her work over the years. Memory, communication and technology are recurrent themes fed by the computer discards. However, she is an equal opportunity recycler. Girdle garters, pen nibs, lamp shade frames, globes and lots of stuff she can’t identify find their way into her artworks. Objects push the idea flow but often the idea comes first, necessitating a hunt for the materials that best express that particular thought.
“Clothes make the Man”, or in Meltzer’s case the figure. Painting, crocheted wire, digital images, and objects make the pattern of the garment which helps tell the story. In one series just recycled clothes are used. Even though the tangible body is missing it is still evident and expressive. Emphasis on hair helps define character, personality, and adds to the humor.