AWAD is pleased to announce that Frances Melhop, of Melhop Gallery º7077 is one of our newest Global Chapter Members. As is our practice, with new members, we asked Frances a few questions about her background and gallery.
What is your professional background?
I am a visual artist, curator and gallery director, originally from New Zealand, now living in the USA. For 25 years I worked globally in the fashion industry as a photographer, constructing imagery; conceptualizing, shooting, and directing stories for publications such as Vogue Italy editions, Vogue Australia, Elle Portugal, and Marie Claire Italy.
In 2009, Luerzer’s Archive named me one of The World’s 200 Best Advertising Photographers for the images I created for the ad campaign for Descamps, France. In 2014 I was awarded the NNDA Comstock Innovator of the Year Award for my arts and community work at St Mary’s Art Center, in Virginia City, Nevada. At that time, I was the Executive Director of the art center, running and curating seven galleries, caring for the historic building, while creating, programming and managing an international Artist-in-Residence program.
My own art has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions worldwide. I work in photography, drawing, stitching, printmaking, installation, and oil paint, exploring the tensions between the virtual and physical ways we experience the world.
Over the last 5 years I have taught Photography, Printmaking, Drawing, Introduction to the Arts, and Visual Foundations at University of Nevada, Reno, and at local colleges in Nevada.
After a year of preparation, in December 2020 I opened the contemporary art gallery, Melhop Gallery º7077, at Lake Tahoe, Nevada representing 12 national and international artists, while also producing some group exhibitions and guest curating shows around the North-West of the USA.
What inspired you to take the leap and start your own business?
I realized that over the years I have curated and organized exhibitions that are visually and conceptually in no way familiar to this region. My lifelong friends around the world are trusted incredible artists that I know to be ethical and compelled to work, so when I was offered a beautiful space near where I live at Lake Tahoe, I jumped at the chance to curate shows and to represent them.
What does your business offer, in terms of goods and services?
MELHOP GALLERY º7077 is an alternative virtual and physical space representing 12 local, national and international working artists. The gallery presents emerging and mid career artists. They work in both traditional and non-traditional mediums, exhibiting new perspectives and strong thoughtful work ethics. Their work in many mediums, is physically shown at the brick and mortar space, while the virtual online art collection platform is also under construction.
The gallery is a woman owned business with a mission to introduce and support practicing artists who are creating art with ethical and conceptual substance. The aim is to help collectors refine their art collections and to build a thriving arts community in Nevada and nearby California.
What excites you about having joined the Association of Women Art Dealers?
I am super excited to be connected to a group of women in the art field. My dream is to find sister galleries to collaborate with as a way to further my artists’ careers and their visibility while adding to the culture of this region by curation or exhibition exchanges.
What brings you joy in your work?
I utterly love to be in my studio painting, drawing, printmaking or stitching… doing my own creative thing triggers all sorts of ideas and exciting plans for curating exhibitions, ways to contextualize other artists’ work and present thought provoking exhibitions.
A just for fun question: If you were a work of art what would you be and why?
I feel like at the moment I would be a Basquiat or a Mehretu painting… order and disorderliness, scribbles, marks, symbols, and figurative work living together, coexisting in some magical way.