Push anxieties aside, step away from the television, and take a seat in Melanie Fischer's imaginative world, Outside In, a uniquely interactive installation of fabric foliage that transforms the Arsenal Gallery into a textile wonderland.
From March 3 to April 22, Fischer creates a fanciful retreat, relying on materials that would not exist without technology-such as Astroturf and printed fabrics-yet still craft a tactile experience normally lost in our increasingly virtual world. Visitors are invited to utilize the exhibit's coloring books and sheets, draw on fabric coins, and make wishes in a mermaid fountain.
"For six weeks, an animated Central Park will slip into the Arsenal building during Melanie Fischer's exhibit, Outside In," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Just as the park is waking up for milder temperatures, Melanie Fischer's creations will rouse the senses of its viewers. We hope this exhibit will inspire visitors to head outside to experience the natural beauty in New York City's parks this spring."
Bright colors, animated scale, and wooly materials lure viewers into warmly nostalgic worlds that increase in complexity upon closer inspection. Fischer's vibrant cloth sculptures are composed of sewn and embroidered fabrics that cover wire and pipe frames. She also transposes these sculptures into collages, drawings and miniature escapes. Fischer's lively refuges, small and large, ignite anesthetized senses.
While attending college in Minnesota, Fischer came across a beautiful golden field of tall wheat grass. Inspired, she filled a large cardboard box with as much grass as she could, sending the package to her father so he could experience the field with her. Always eager to share her visions of lush environments, Fischer asks the viewer to participate in her escape. She prunes and plans idyllic settings, not unlike a landscape architect.
Melanie Fischer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York for nearly twelve years. She received her BA from Carleton College in Minnesota, graduating with distinction in fine arts, a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from Brooklyn College. Fischer has exhibited at Islip Art Museum, New York Studio Gallery, Metaphor Contemporary Art, and Sara Nightingale Gallery.
The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks, and park history. It is located on the third floor of the NYC Parks & Recreation headquarters, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for holidays. Admission is free.