Melissa Mladin Löwgren sources her paintings from a mix of mythologies and spiritual beliefs from around the globe. Having long studied the stories of many cultures, she brings her search for beauty and grace to the canvas, offering to the viewer a meeting of formal elegance with veils of ephemeral, ethereal colour. On canvases that mostly eschew recognisable imagery, her primary concern with space, colour, line and shape, form, texture and surface verges on a pictorial balancing of the emotions; her intuitive process strives toward the Buddhist state of “no mind”. Employing paint as a physical medium to cross between worlds, her method produces an internal landscape steeped in mystical insight.
“I believe that everything starts at home – within yourself, within the self as home – but also within the four walls of a dwelling.” Thus her paintings function as personal journeys giving inspirational energy to the viewer, and are meant to translate that energy to domestic space and the everyday. For example, her use of the enso – the deftly painted circle of enlightenment that expresses a moment when the mind is free to let the body create – figures throughout her work simultaneously as a tool for the artist to break through stasis and as a recognisable visual trope signifying transcendence, symbolising a communication, a sharing – and a community of hope and change.
Mladin Löwgren references ancient symbols such as the trident to call up courage and liberation archetypes in Greek, Roman and Hindu mythology. In a note of light humour, she might also allude to the Vorpal Sword (that vanquished the Jabberwocky in Alice in Wonderland) and question the boundaries between popular and high culture, thereby conflating possibilities for imagination, beauty and feminine strength with self-affirmation and ordinary life.
By accessing both subconscious and conscious paths to esoteric knowledge through a material spirituality, Mladin Löwgren’s inquiry aligns with 20th century abstract expressionists such as Arshile Gorky and Helen Frankenthaler. However, her purpose of adorning domestic space with illuminating encouragement sets her project within a world of its own. She says, “Through my constructed realities, my hope is to translate my journey for the viewer into a landscape of possibility and commitment, to create a dialogue of growth and change.”
Drawing upon her skills as developed in working professionally with both domestic and commercial interior design clients, Mladin Löwgren constructs her paintings to “feed all six senses”. Her paintings are held in private collections in Australia and internationally in the U.S., Asia, Sweden and France.