Melissa Catanese
Untitled constellation #2 (The Lottery)

35" H x 24" W
Catalogue Number
Current Location
NA 5

About the Artist

Melissa Catanese

BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio
CitizenshipUnited States
Light Work RelationshipKathleen O. Ellis Gallery, 2022 (Main Gallery Exhibition Spring/Summer 2022)


I made a set of problems, for the page that suffers questions.
Answer them metaphorically, or ugly, afar. Whatever you want to.
Like a questionnaire?
Like an irresponsible therapy session.

How did you end up there?
Traveling towards Big Bend, I ended up pulling up to this magnetic pole of what. This
Worldly pull of that. Alien.
A landscape that felt an image.
A surface beyond Earth, this other planetary place. A science fiction pole.
And did you end up there, meaning attracted to…?
You mean cruel brutal landscapes? I’m inaccessible, and I’m industrial.
Not dark but full of potential and optimism, in a dystopic way. This topic optimism.
Do you see yourself in those landscapes, when you look at them?
No, I see the future. A spread.

What happened when he woke up?
My arm was numb.
Were you heard? I mean, were you hurt?
I don’t think heard would be the term. I think frightened.
Were you seeing other people heard? Is that when you were frightened?
Where you forgotten?
In a sense. I think last or lost. So frightened, not her. And last, not forgotten.
Mm hmmm. When is it safe to come back?

It is rather out from taking cover, up from hiding out?
Something that keeps you from this world?
I think I said that because I can’t.
And then a guy calling these two pictures an image. It’s terrifying.
The contrast of this celebration that is kind of like a knife. Boozy white
Mm hmmm. And this man made what?

When is it safe to come out?
I’m not sure. There will, there will not be safety.
Well, you know, it’s paired with the poppies. You mean the obvious meaning of
Some, I hope. Some hope. I just don’t know what that looks like. Yet.
The madness coming from underneath and the menace coming from above.
There’s the violence of people and there’s the pressure that we stand on top of.
And then there’s the violent celebration.
Next, next.
I go back to the oil and the lightning and all these phenomena. It’s thermal pressure or,
or, you know, atmospheric pressure.
That’s like a big, you know. It’s like that. That’s I.
Like a frog in boiling water. Like that idiom, like that frog. There’s an eminence
to everything.
And all the images are at one time. Fixed. Fixed in that imminence. But then, I don’t
know, what’s the opposite of fixed?
There’s some terror going inside. This feels also feels like both safety and fear.
A traveling to another realm. Beyond the veil.
Like an out of body experience. Meditative. Forced. Not not a chosen one. Not one that’s
made with consent but as a result of the forces surrounding it.
Because its light causes some transformation?
Yes, exactly.
You said out of body experience. But you need—you need—to use your body to get to an
out of body experience.

What happened to her at sunrise?
She felt the earth shift.
What happened to her after dark?
A bitter cold entered her bones.
We told you about her. Another way: how do you know she existed?
I want to say it came in the form of a vibration. She describes something that is this, at
one time, at once this. Lucid.
How will she escape? I’m not augmented.
So lucky.
Will she ever wake up? This is already a question before I answered the other, the
previous questions.
Fixed, that question.
Wow, well, she ever wakes up. Never. If she wells it?
Will see ever sleep again? Will she?
I don’t know if I know or not, but it’s unknown.
Something synthetic that feels like a conversation.
I love that. How long it took to say something very concise.
Very concise, but also count twice. Total enigmatic.
They were just associates of questions.
I want to come to spring for the wildflowers, more poppies being like this, this
kind of coda.
What you’ve forgotten is memory.
I’m forgetting or remembering or someplace in time, implicit in the quality of the light or
lightning. Sort of dead and alive, you know.
Like paintings. One of the paintings is a woman that follows him as he walks
through the room.
And their eyes open and close.
I’m going to track it track me down.

Nicholas Muellner

Nicholas Muellner is a Los Angeles-based photographer and writer who also co-directs the Image Text MFA at Ithaca College in NY.

Melissa Catanese lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and completed her residency at Light Work in June 2021.