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Melinda Tidwell. “In a previous life,” 2013. 7×8.25″, book parts, stitching, punctures, graphite on paper.

In a day and age where so much art has been digitized, where so many works are utilizing technology to be realized, it is refreshing to find an artist who still enjoys working with their hands.

Multimedia artist Melinda Tidwell has actually done both. After pursuing mathematics in college, she was drawn to a career in computer graphics, which proved to be a balance between visual creativity and mathematical exactness. Tidwell soon departed from this position in favor of something more artistic, however, a decision that eventually led her to work with collage as her primary artistic medium.

Tidwell explains that her “lifelong interest in abstraction and visual language” is what allows her to find harmony in her career as a fine artist. Her works are certainly evocative of a person who employs immense precision and care into every facet of the collage. Using the pages of found books, as well as techniques that utilize acrylic paints, stitch work, and drawing, Tidwell’s collages are abstract yet showcase an impressive amount of restraint and control.

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Melinda Tidwell. “Detect,” 2013. 11×7″, book parts, acrylic, ink on paper.

Her art is clever and witty; pages with fragmented words are often implemented and even become the namesake for some pieces. Taking words out of their original context allows for the creation of abstract voices that are unified by the other artistic techniques she employs. Her use of color is also expertly demonstrated; many of the works rely on the muted tones of old book pages, but splashes of color and layering of shades in the same color palate allow for great amounts of texture to emerge, which in turn inform the viewer about a deeper meaning embedded in the work.

Tidwell explains, “My work begins with the formal aspects of design and a fascination with the balance of visual elements in composition. Using simple geometric shapes and rectilinear alignments, I focus on the coherence and juxtaposition of color, pattern, placement and size,” of her scrupulously detailed collage designs. Of the abstract nature that many of the collages embody she says, “The peculiar sensation of a world slightly askew gives me no end of delight.” This speaks to the playfulness and lightness evoked by her collections, a fantastical element that is often featured in collage work.

Tidwell is represented by the San Francisco-based Andrea Schwartz Gallery, but her works can also be found online on her official website.

Featured Image: Melinda Tidwell. “OK classics,” 2013. Book parts.