Melissa Zarem


Melissa Zarem is an abstract painter and printmaker. Her work playfully combines expressive gesture, layered texture and graphic formal elements. Each piece is built in layers that allow viewers to infer the history of its making. This process invites spontaneity and produces a rich surface that parallels the natural world; a world where growth is attained through time, energy and material.


Melissa Zarem grew up in New York City where she logged many hours scouring museums. After getting her BFA at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Melissa returned to Brooklyn where she started a career as an artist in residence with the Henry Street Settlement House’s Abrons Arts Center. Between 1992 and 1998 her art was featured in a number of shows at the Abrons Arts Center as well as in galleries in Brooklyn, including: Cold Fish (1995), The Montauk House (1996), and Henry 125 (1997).

After a hiatus to raise young children, Melissa returned to Ithaca with her family. Relocating has provided her with the necessary space and time to redouble her artistic productivity. In 2011 Melissa was awarded a position in the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Mark ’11 professional development program and has since had three solo shows; one at The Corners Gallery (2011), another at Community Arts Partnership’s ArtSpace (2011) and a third at Exhibit A Gallery in Corning, NY (2013). Melissa has been a featured artist at the Windsor Whip Works Gallery and Art Center (2012) and one of three artists represented in First Person, Twice Removed at Handwerker Gallery of Ithaca College (2013). Melissa is currently a stable artist at Exhibit A in Corning. Upon inclusion in the Made in NY 2014 show at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, Melissa’s painting received a jurors’ choice award. Most recently, her art was exhibited at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University where her work has been acquired for the permanent collection.