The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Melissa Day: Painting the Golden Gate Bridge

Melissa Day (UCB Art) Graduate

In 1935-37, 220 one-foot square painted steel panels, submitted by various companies, were erected on top of Fort Point, facing the Pacific – literally being tested by the elements. Described as one of the most corrosive environments for paint testing, the Golden Gate Bridge is still being used to test a wide variety of paints on steel panels in hard to see locations on the San Francisco anchorage of the bridge for a period of 5000 hours. Called “test coupons” in the industry, this project proposed a translation of these “test coupons” into oil paintings to be installed in and around the bridge, facing the wind, sea air, rain, and sun.

Continuing her exploration of the notion of time in painting, Melissa Day introduced this piece as painting performance. Rather than a static painting, the face of the painting constantly changed, simultaneously being battered and lit by rain and sun.

About the Artist: Mel Day is a Canadian interdisciplinary visual artist and experimental contemplative currently living in Northern California. Her work is shown both nationally and internationally including recent shows at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, a two-person show in Berlin, and as part of the traveling multi-media exhibition, “The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama.” Awards include a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Foundation’s Murphy Fellowship in the Fine Arts, the Eisner Prize in the Creative Arts from UC Berkeley and upcoming residencies at the Djerassi Arts Program in Woodside, CA and the Stanford University University Experimental Media Arts Program. She received her Masters in Fine Art from the University of California, Berkeley in 2005, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University, Canada and the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland in 1992. Day is represented by Peak Gallery, Toronto.

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