Melissa Loop

"I use my travels to explore notions of how we form assumptions about authenticity, place and spirituality through our ill-informed ideas of other cultures. After the End is inspired by my trips to Central America in 2012 and 2015 when I visited the ancient Mayan sites of Caracol, Xunantunich, Calal Pech, Tikal, Yasha, Palenque, Edina, Xpujil, Calakmul, Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza. While my paintings are based on reality, my compositions are purposefully invented in an attempt to recreate rare moments of spiritual transcendence one encounters when taking a pilgrimage to a sacred place. However authentic in desire, this attempt is always in conflict with the reality of being a tourist and an outsider in someone else's culture. The duality of this experience serves as a metaphor for our current cultural anxieties about a potentially foreboding future. Our Pax Americana of the present, with leaders who create a Theater State to keep control, and the impending ecological collapse from our entry into the Anthropocene age, seems reminiscent of the great and mysterious fall of the Mayans. What’s left of their civilization becomes an effective symbol for processing the present. In an era of “fake news” and during a culturally turbulent time in our nation’s history, my paintings explore the space between imagination and reality, spiritual transcendence and skepticism, dream and actuality, hope and despair. How will future generations interpret this particular point in our history?"

Available Works