Melissa Matsuki Lillie is an artist whose work references natural forms using a personal visual language of vibrant colors and complex layers to reflect on the macroscopic and microscopic world. Her paintings and collages evoke a sense of space that has been flattened and layered, revealing strands and structures of line and color interacting fluidly with hidden landscapes. In addition to painting she frequently works sculpturally, creating forms that celebrate both line and color.
I like to be observant of the small details of the interaction of shape and line in nature,” says Lillie, something she learned at an early age by being a naturalist. She has always appreciated flora and fauna, part of being influenced by her father, who was a keeper at the National Zoo for 30 years as well as a dedicated lover of nature who taught her how to identify birds, fish, plants, trees, rocks, and minerals.“Now as an artist, I take this skill of observation and apply it to the world around me,” Lillie says. “I love to apply my own language of color to the patterns in what I see. I like the idea that all things in nature are made from organic structures based in mathematics. Things that seem so organic and flowing still have a basis in something very straightforward and logical. There is an organized chaos about organic forms that is very appealing to me that I try to incorporate into my work.”
Born in Maryland, Lillie attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She currently lives in Richmond, Massachusetts.