"Forming a one-person assembly line, Melissa Forkner Lesher works materials rhythmically, in systematic, repetitive ways to shape chaos into order.  Productivity and efficiency are as integral to her process as are touch and intimacy.  Always working alone, she begins each piece intuitively with the aim of transforming the material without disguising it.  For her, making things is a way to connect with the generations of makers that came before her as well as those yet to come - it is an instrument to stave off loneliness and connect to the universe."            

       - Betsy Johnson,  curatorial assistant at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.



Mel earned a BFA in painting and drawing from The Pennsylvania State University in 2011 and an MFA from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2013.  She is the recipient of multiple awards including The Fellowship Juried Prize for outstanding achievement at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  She has served as a volunteer in the following organizations:  The Penn State School of Visual Arts Alumni, The Art Alliance of Central PA, The Bellefonte Art Museum and The Rhoneymeade Arboretum and Sculpture Garden.  In addition she is a contributing artist for The Jana Marie Foundation, Stomper’s Project:  http://www.stompersproject.org/

Mel is proud to serve as an Instructor of Art at Penn State teaching painting and drawing to an amazing group of talented individuals.  She was recently a featured artist in the exhibition, “Minding the Hand” at The Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA.  Her installation works will be included in future exhibitions at The Ormond Memorial Museum, Ormond Beach, FL and The Br. Kenneth Chapman Gallery, Iona College, New Rochelle, NY.






The Idiom Series

Embedded in the personal, I strive to reach a diverse audience where associations of sentiment, memory, and play are conjured and evident.

The tension between expressed vs carried thought fuels the work.  The need to connect dots within and to exchange understanding with others sustains the work.   The manifestation is through a tedious, obsessive rhythm created by composing assembly-line multiples, working as dependent units to form a whole piece.