About the Artist

Michael Zavison and Melanie Rolfes

Melanie Rolfes and Michael Zavison are a collaborative duo whose individual artistic trajectories intersected at the Atlanta Midtown Festival of the Arts in 2010. Describing an almost immediate creative connection, Melanie and Michael realized that not only did their artistic interests line up, but that the work they each did individually could be stronger when paired together.

Michael’s immersive abstractions met Melanie’s color-infused European sensibilities. While she creates as a way to channel and direct energies and thoughts—making works that are both focal points as well as imaginary passages, he uses industrial materials to create archival works that transform spaces. In many ways what they both do is take the fleeting moments of beauty created by time (like the patina on old plaster walls, or the accumulated rust of decades) make it stable, deliberate, and manageable…which is to say: theirs is a process of creation, not neglect or decay.

To achieve long-lasting works that look as if time and nature have been at work, theirs is a process of marrying new technology to older knowledge and endless, inventive experimentation. When talking about how a new piece comes to life, they’re both quick to say that there is no set way, “one of us says: ‘hey…I have an idea,’” and the two are off and running. Delegating responsibilities and communication is the key to pulling off deceptively complex compositions whose success depends as much on materials expertise and timing, as color and design theory. “…the work is complex, a lot of things come together in a very short time…when we put everything together, some of the chemical reactions we are working with require more than one set of hands. So one of us takes the lead and the other acts as support—it’s like cooking.”

In their adopted home-town of Atlanta, Melanie and Michael count Coca Cola, Elton John, and the Federal Reserve Atlanta among their custom clients. While in respected exhibitions and festivals across the country including an award of artistic excellence from the Peruvian Ambassador, they’ve won multiple best-in-show awards. Currently, they’re living in a tiny house at The Goat Farm, a multi-disciplinary arts-commune with over 300 artists, in the heart of the Atlanta. But they’re always traveling to exhibit across the country, so the best way to keep up is to follow them on Facebook, or check their website regularly.

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Michael Zavison

Michael Zavison moved from interior and set design through a job at Marshal Field & Company in his home city of Chicago into fine art. His evolution as an artist has always been balanced against the need to problem solve and create lasting solutions for clients and collectors. He explains that the understanding he gained of balance, color and space while working in the aforementioned corporate field lead him to start manufacturing custom wall coverings (Zavison Frescoes) and then into fine art.
Taking inspiration from the older American cities where he has lived, he now works primarily in large-scale industrial abstractions. Using steel, paint and plaster, his pieces are atmospheric, moody and timeless; transforming spaces into unique personal sanctuaries.

Melanie Rolfes

“I think of myself as a colorist–that’s my love, my strength.”

Melanie Rolfes grew up in Europe and that experience continues to influence her stylistic and color choices, her desire to distill emotions by way of color.  She works in a mode she calls Atmospheric Impressions, which is to say that her paintings have a relationship to Abstract Expressionism, but are also created as evocative, color-saturated points of focus and meditation.  Designed to express her deepest feelings, and so connect with a viewer, she combines techniques learned while  studying painting in California with more experimental methods and materials.  Non-objective and grounded in sophisticated color theory she says, “I am guided  by my passion for discovery; not only for new places, but also within myself and others.”