About Melissa Ichiuji
Melissa Ichiuji creates sculptures that are stunningly confident, bold, aggressive, playful, and original, full of sexual puns and possible allusions to larger traditions of Surrealist and contemporary works.
Her sculptures are at once intimate, personal, and playful, and prompts for recognizing some of our deepest psychosexual fantasies and repressions. Many of Melissa Ichiuji’s childlike doll figures are also emblems of play, prompting us to recall what having a body was like when there weren’t any adults around to police appropriate behavior.
Her range of materials is striking, and the visible materiality folds in the already encoded cultural meanings and values for materials and mediums before they are reassembled. Each sculpture is hand sewn and may be assembled from fabric (plain or vintage), nylon, leather, wood, bones, fur, hair, and plastic and metal found objects. She uses nylon as a handy code for the female body: nylon is used as a second skin, both to cover legs with a transparent sheath and to define their shape and erotic potential. In her uniquely performative and hybrid sculptures, we find bodies combined with machine parts, metal, leather, fabric, an intersection of taboo and fetish, the bubbling up of repressions and deflections in fantasies achieving form. Melissa Ichiuji is a native of the Washington DC area and began her artistic career as a dancer and actor. She attended the prestigious Duke Ellington School for the Arts in DC and then danced with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in NY and later as Anita in the World Tour of West Side Story. She is a disciple of Joy Zinoman, of Studio Theatre, and has performed on many DC stages including Studio Theatre, Arena Stage, and The Shakespeare Theatre. After living in NY, Ichiuji returned to Washington and completed a degree in fine art from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. While still a student at the Corcoran she began experimenting with performance art and her 2005 piece entitled STRIPPED garnered national press and acclaim.
Her work has been featured in Art in America, Modern Luxury, NYArt Magazine, and Art Investor Magazine. She has exhibited in galleries and museums in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Munich and New York.
Born: January 30 Virginia, USA
2006 BFA Corcoran College of Art and Design
1986 - 2002
Northern Virginia Community College
Amor De Dios, Madrid
Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, DC
Studio Theatre, Washington, DC
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, NYC
Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, NYC
Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Washington, DC
2016 “Make You Love Me” Katzen Arts Center at American University Museum D.C.
2016 Poupees et Tabous – Le Double Jeu De L’artiste Contemporain la Maison de la Culture de la Province de Namur
2015 Engagements, Musee Sainte Croix, Poitiers, France
2011 Tous Cannibales, La Masion Rouge, Paris, France
2011 Tous Cannibales, Me Collectors Room, Berlin Germany
2011 Femininiity 0.1, Maison Particuliere, Brussels, Belgium
2018 Pieces Uniques, Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, Paris France
2016 Make You Love Me, Katzen Arts Center at American University Museum, Washington DC
2015 Venus Envy, Irmingard Beck Presents, Munich Germany
2014 Inside Out, (with Hans Bellmer) Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, Paris, France
2013 In the Flesh, Schmucker Gallery, Gettysburg College, PA
2012 Fair Game (Election Collection), Galerie Lareuse, Washington DC
2011 Everything to Lose, Special performance, Artfair, Washington DC
2009 Lesser Madonnas, Irvine Contemporary, Washington DC
2007 Nasty Nice, Irvine Contemporary, Washington DC
2005 STRIPPED, a 36-hour non-performance, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Selected Group Exhibitions
2019 Contortion: Melodrama and the Figure. Brentwood Arts Exchange, Brentwood, MD
2019 CHAOSMOS X: Se Souvenir de Demain (Remembering tomorrow), Exhibition of works from the Servais Family Collection. Mecenes du Sud, Montpellier-Sete, France. Curated by Nicolas De Ribou
2016 Poupees et Tabous – Le Double Jeu De L’artiste Contemporain, la Maison de la Culture de la Province de Namur
2015 Engagements, Museum Sainte Croix, Poitiers, France
2014 la part animale; hybrids, chimeres et mutants, Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, Paris
2013 Art Brussels, Gallerie Sophie Scheidecker, Paris
2012 Broken Ground: a Radical Wonderland, Wonderground Studios. NYC
2012 FIAC, Paris France. Galerie Sophie Sheidecker.
2012 Empowered. Marolborough Gallery. Prince Georges College, Washington DC
2011 Femininity 0.1, Maison Particuliere art center, Brussels
2011 Tous Cannibales, Me Collectors Room, Berlin, Germany
2011 Tous Cannibales, La Masion Rouge, Paris, France
2010 Saturnalia, Irvine Contemporary, Washington, DC.
2010 ARCADE, Sculpture installation at The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Commissioned by WPA and the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities
2010 SCOPE-Miami, Dec 2010, Irvine Contemporary, Washington, DC
2008 ID, Schmucker Art Gallery, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA
2007 Alumni exhibition curated by Molly Donovan, Corcoran Gallery of Art Washington DC
2006 Introductions 2, Irvine Contemporary, Washington DC
2006 Aqua Art Fair, Miami, FL, Irvine Contemporary, Washington, DC
2006 Art 212, NY, Irvine Contemporary, Washington, DC
2005 DC- Knew, Cutting-edge up and coming, Knew Gallery, Washington DC
2005 7×7, Washington Ballet, Set design, SEVEN, curated by Lenny Campello, WPA/C, Washington DC
2018 Modern Luxury DC, Body Electric: Look Who’s Talking by Kristen Schott, September 2018
2017 Culture Spot MC, Doll Face: ‘Progeny’ Soft Sculpture Exhibit Explores the Deepest of Human Experience, by Vanessa Mallory Kotz, 2017
2016 Washington Post, In the Galleries: A limited number of shades of gray, by Mark Jenkins, December 2016
2016 The Warren Sentinel: DC Museum to display local artists Sculptures by Kevin Olmstead, November 2016
2016 Sculpture Magazine, On Guise and Dolls: a Conversation with Melissa Ichiuji. John Anderson.
2016 MyCity Visual Arts Magazine: Clashing Dolls and Taboos, by Eric Mabille, April 2016
2015 An Angel Investor Taking His Eye For Talent Into The Art Scene. Larry’s List.
2014 Art Investor Magazine, Dream and Trauma. Annegret Erhard, December 2014
2013 Art: Reflection of The Times by Joseph and Barrie Ann George, The Sentinel, Cumberlink.
2012 The Washington Times. Inside The Beltway, Low and Lower. Jennifer Harper
2012 The City Paper Arts Desk. Melissa Ichiuji at Galerie l Laureuse. John Anderson.
2012 FOX KVVU Las Vegas, featured on MORE morning show with Election Collection
2011 La libre.be. Artistic Explorations of Femininity. Claud Laurent.
2011 The New York Times. Belgian Artists Making an Impact, at Home and Beyond. Nazanin Lankarani.
2011 L’evenment. Feminite 0.1 a la Maison Particuliere. by D.P.
2011 ARTFORUM, “All Cannibals?”. Jurriaan Benschop
2011 Le Monde. France. From Goya to Manga: Menus Cannibalism. Philippe Dagen
2011 100 Washington Artists. F. Lennox Campello. Schiffer Publishing
2011 The Washington Post, Jan. 28. Familiar favorites: Once more, with feeling. Jessica Dawson
2008 Contemporary Textiles, The fabric of fine art. Black Dog Publishing
2007 Art in America, (Oct.) Review by Sidney Lawrence
2007 The Washington Post, Feb 3. The Yin and Yang of Feminine Critique. Jessica Dawson
2007 NY Arts Magazine, (Jan.) Interview by Steven Psyllos
2005 The Washington Post, May 11. The Art of Nothing. Lonnae O’Neal Parker
2005 The Washington Post, May 12. Calling a Halt to Suffering for her Art. Richard Leiby
2005 The GW Hatchet, May 23. The Bare Necessities, Maura Judkis
2005 The Washington Post, May 30. Peeling Back the Layers of Meaning in STRIPPED, Melissa Ichiuji
2016 Make You Love Me, Artist talk and podcast at American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
2013 In the Flesh, Artist Talk, Schmucker Gallery, Gettysburg College, PA
2006 Berthhold Schmuztzhart Award, Corcoran College of Art + Design
2005 Fine Art Award of Excellence, Corcoran College of Art + Design
Creator of Guise and Dolls Figurative Sculpture Classes and Workshops
2019 AVATAR, 2 Day intensive workshop, American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
2019 Guise and Dolls, “The You of Your Dreams,” 5-day Figurative Sculpture Workshop, Castle Hill, Truro Center for the Arts, Truro, MA
2018 Guise and Dolls, 2-day Figurative Sculpture Workshop, American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
2018 Guise and Dolls, “The You of Your Dreams,” USO Wounded Warrior and Family Center
2018 Guise and Dolls, “Sew Fresh,” Artists and Makers Studios, Rockville, MD
2017 Guise and Dolls Class, “Sew Strange,” Artists and Makers Studios, Rockville, MD
2017 Guise and Dolls Class, “Progeny,” Artists and Makers Studios, Rockville, MD
2016 Guise and Dolls 2 -day Figurative Workshop, American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
2016 Guise and Dolls Figurative Sculpture Class, Artists and Makers Studios Rockville, MD
2016 Guise and Dolls Figurative Sculpture Class, Melissa Ichiuji Studio, Front Royal, VA
2005 Flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance, Adjunct Professor, Shenandoah Conservatory, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA