You can’t take it with you…
“You can’t take it with you…” is about being swept away by the sea of life. It captures the feelings of chaos that enter our lives, the swirl of daily stresses, and culturally significant issues: the refugee or migrant experience, issues of rising sea levels and ocean pollution from plastics, and economics and class divides. “You can’t take it with you…” stews in blue: blue is melancholy, but also meditative and timely; it aligns with the 2020 Pantone color of the year, Classic Blue, and the high rates of depression, especially in children, over climate change.
Haviland on Blue
Haviland’s obsession with blue began in India, looking over Jodhpur, the ‘Blue City’, where blue was used to mark the Brahmin, or highest caste, homes from others. Due to the high Brahmin population, the city became blue. Countless unplanned communities throughout India and around the world are also blue, a beautiful shade of aged tarp blue. Almost Brahmin blue. Tarps are everywhere, in every city and town in most countries; especially the blue tarp—the color of the most basic grade of tarpaulin. The tarp is an essential object and material, a cheap one that straddles class divides.
Within her artistic research, Melissa Haviland uses domestic objects as a cultural lens to explore relationships, both personal and economic. Her artwork straddles the boundaries between printmaking and installation-performance. She makes many small prints or large malleable prints that are installed together and engulf the gallery. Printmaking and working in multiples allows her to reference the reiteration of objects and ideas in our culture.
Haviland is a Professor of Printmaking at Ohio University’s School of Art and Design. She earned her MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and BFA from Illinois State University.