Melissa Loop

Melissa Loop - Dusk in a Strange Land
Melissa Loop - Contemplation Shelter
Melissa Loop - Sometimes It Feels Like I'm Underwater
Melissa Loop - Raise My Spirit
Melissa Loop - Cathedral
Melissa Loop - A Place by the Sea
Melissa Loop - Burn with Devotion
Melissa Loop - False Temple
Melissa Loop - Hallucinations
Melissa Loop - Fold the Universe into the Night
Melissa Loop - Quiet the Mind, Fire in the Belly

I was in Tikal sitting on top of the highest temple after sunset with about a dozen other tourists. We were listening to our Mayan guide tell us a story about him and his twin brother born in the rainforest. The Mayans believe that twins are of the gods, a sign of good luck. So the Shamans bound their heads like they used to in the old times. In the distance, the tops of the other temples peaked above the rainforest and we watched a lightening storm dance in the sky. Part of the scene was a set up created for us tourists. However, part of it was a rare moment in time that contained all of the mystic and spiritual clarity that we search for when traveling to faraway places. This is the balance I search for in my paintings. They are self-critical and never fully submit to the fantasy. It's about the search for the spiritual and the nostalgia and the mismemory of place. I am an outsider, a tourist, a spectator. No matter how difficult I try to make my journey, I do not understand. However, I can't help but want the fantasy to be true and to get closer to the other.

My current body of work is based on trips that I have taken to Central America, where I visited Mayan sites and photographed the landscape. I enjoy the mystery and misrepresentation of the past and the way it collides with the harsh current situation for the Mayans that still live in the region. It is not important if this duality comes across in the work, because for me, it is a place to start. I am on a journey with no destination and each painting is a window into a haphazard narrative picked randomly from thousands of photos on a whim.