On October 13, the Shepherd University art department opened the phase 2 gallery to present the stunning photography of Mellisa Stallard. The gallery will be open from October 13 through November 6.
Students are encouraged to go see the artwork. Stallard is a contemporary photographer from Ohio. She is currently an assistant professor at Mary Schiller Myers School of Art in Akron, Ohio and students may gain inspiration from her artwork.
Melissa Stallard reports that she fell into photography by pure chance. She was originally a pre-law/political science major, but switched to art. Stallard declared metalsmithing as her concentration. She only took a photography class at the suggestion of a professor, but by the end of the semester, she had fallen in love with photography.
Stallard says, “My professor instilled an energy in me that hasn’t left – my desire to be a better photographer, to think critically of work (all work, not just my own), and to never stop learning.”
Stallard’s current series “This Land”, has an interesting story behind it. “This Land” is a series of snapshots from old, left behind places. Cultural landscape has always interested Stallard. She says, “I believe that place, as shaped by its residents, can inform viewers about the quality of life found there.”
Stallard and her husband moved from Chicago to Akron, Ohio and found themselves in the middle of the post-industrial mid-west. This section of the country is affectionately called, “The Rust Belt” because of the old, un-sustained infrastructure. Stallard was instantly drawn to these old structures.
“I seek places that aren’t sustaining life but that are instead (with great tenacious spirit) getting by.” Stallard begins, “I’m interested in the remnants of culture when factory closures and job outsourcing affect the overall financial health of a town.”
This is the foundation of Stallard’s series that is in the phase 2 gallery. There are pictures of abandoned buildings, empty streets, and left behind towns. The photos are hauntingly beautiful.
All students, especially those interested in photography should make their way to the Contemporary Art building to see the work of Melissa Stallard before November 6.