I am not interested in the high points of life. Only five minutes of every day are interesting. I want to show the rest, normal life. Henri Lefebvre
In this most recent body of work, time and space exist in two parts; family members and loved ones represented by various flora like Snap Dragons and Forget-me-Not held in the artist's hands, and intimate glimpses into short moments of solitude. "Carving out time and space is an act of will when you are a mother," Bilenker writes, and then boldly attempts to preserve time, taking fleeting moments and capturing them to be revisited. Bilenker uses a drawing technique historically rooted in hair work, aiming and achieving authenticity: to make an image look the way it feels.
Melanie Bilenker (b. 1978) translates the historic art of Victorian hair jewelry into work that reflects upon the contemporary era. Her work is an exciting mix of technical ingenuity and profoundly intimate concept. Her delicate pendants and brooches are wearable art objects, depicting ordinary moments of everyday life—making lunch, bathing, washing dishes—with "drawings" made from gold, silver, and the artist's own hair. "I am looking for ways to conjure a sense of home for the viewer," Bilenker states, referring to both her subject matter and the medium of human hair. "I see hair as proof of existence, a souvenir." Often cited as a leader in the movement to return to craftsmanship in jewelry making, Bilenker’s work has been placed in collections worldwide. Most recently her work was included in The Smithsonian Museum of American Art’s 40 Under 40 and Jewellery Unleashed at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem, Netherlands. Bilenker's work is included in many museums around the world including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; National Museum of Scotland; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Yale University Art Gallery, Hartford, CT; Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; Newark Museum, NJ; Racine Museum of Art, Racine WI.