“What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to live well in a place, together?”
- Melody Joy Overstreet
MYSTICAL GROUND is an exhibition of original, limited-edition collagraph prints by Melody Joy Overstreet. This body of work centers on the foundational elements that nourish and sustain our tenuous lives. In response to this moment in time, when numerous spiritual wars are being waged, this work asks, how do we offer care for all that is integral to our humble everyday existence?
This collection exists at the intersection of the Diasporic and the Indigenous, as the artist searches for and questions the meaning of belonging and home. This work was created from the visceral dance between grief and praise and offers a reflection on our bodies and the layers of undigested grief that may be sensed, close and near, as well as all of the beauty that persists, waiting for us to take notice.
Moved by the patterns and interrelationships between seeds, our cells, and the cosmos– the artist draws intimate awareness to these remnants of ancient ways of orienting ourselves in the world, in making and finding our way home. Mystical Ground considers the vast evidence of our interconnectivity with one another and all of life, and is an invitation to consider what life might look like if we honored the holy within ourselves, each other, and the Earth. Part meditation, part honoring ritual, part complex contradictory exhibition situated in a capitalist society, this exhibition both questions our collective priorities while also celebrating, with humility and imperfection, the holy in nature.
This collection is in dialogue with seeds, and contains whispers of the intimate stories of place.
Through her work, Melody centers the soil as a home for consciousness, and engages the creative process as an intentional act that helps her remain awake to the magic of life. Partly geomorphic, all the way sensuous, her work is a conversation between her body and the Earth. Here, her body is a vessel, an instrument that moves energy, expresses gestural marks, conveys a sense of rhythm, and feeling. Each mark is an echo, a reverberation of a moment that has passed yet continues to hold presence, perhaps her way of grappling with how this tender and beautiful life seems to be moving through the quickness of time.
This exhibition includes handmade redwood altar pieces by artist and craftsman, Vincent Waring, and are co-designed to pay homage to the sacredness of life, to offer a space to center and quietly contemplate the elements that nourish, hold, compose, and sustain us. In an ongoing conversation with the Earth, these pieces are partly made with place-based materials inclusive of seeds and plant dust.
Melody Joy Overstreet is a poet, artist, printer, weaver, and community educator. Her work has been exhibited locally as well as internationally, and is featured in numerous publications inclusive of Loam Magazine, Seed Broadcast, The Freshwater Review, and The Philosopher. She is a member of Little Giant Collective, a community-run print studio based in Downtown, Santa Cruz. She is a recipient of a 2022-2023 Peace Studio Fellowship for her work at the intersection of art, land stewardship, and teaching. She recently completed an Artist in Residency with the On Being Project, where she completed a full-length book of poems and place-based illustrations titled Reverberations. To learn more about this book and the artist's work visit reciprocalfield.com