Coming to Light

James Melchert


Koch Biology Building
(Building 66) lobby

Although Melchert began his artistic career as a conceptually oriented painter, he is perhaps best known today for a unique process that involving ceramic tiles: he breaks, draws on, reassembles, and paints on them with low-fire glazes.

His interest in natural and scientific phenomena is reflected in his process-oriented works, which have an organic and expressive quality. Melchert’s aesthetic is based on a belief in the dualities of nature. Oppositions of chance and control, the intuitive versus the intellectual, and the handmade against manufactured all find expression in his organic, process-oriented works. In many of his projects, including the 225-foot-long mural in the lobby of MIT’s Biology Building, Melchert orients himself within the broader context of the project, integrating his work within the overall design.

Read more about James Melchert






ceramic tile


168 in. x 2700 in. (426.72 cm x 6858 cm)


Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds

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