Melaneia Warwick, Nest iv, (2011) 39 x 30 inches (framed) charcoal, chalk, household varnish on paper
Drawing is a good way of thinking about Melaneia Warwick’s Nest works, not just because they are in themselves very skillfully drawn but because they also draw you in. The Nest series combines two unlikely elements – a redundant bird’s nest of pegs and hessian and a discarded, plastic doll – and immediately they create narratives.
In Nest i the headless doll appears to be clutching and falling. It has tumbled from its nest in front of your very eyes, its little hand slips from the grip of a frayed root end just out of reach. The black hole where its head should be is like a screaming mouth. In Nest iii, the same doll appears sturdier, more self-sufficient. The nest is gone and whilst the frayed and winding root – like an umbilical cord – remains, its a cord that’s been ripped free.
This violence is there in the paint, in the drips and scrapes of the surface, in the roughly smudged charcoal and in Nest ii. Here the empty nest is both visceral and wounded, animated in vibrant pinky-reds and bold greens. The mood is different again in Nest iv where the whited-out outline of a peg in the foreground is like a memory that hasn’t quite faded.
Nest is still life that refuses to stay still.
See Nest at Hotel Alphabet here