Coming to Light

James Melchert

Location

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.

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Date

1994

Type

Installation

Medium

Hand-glazed
ceramic tile

Size

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

Credit

Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds