The Nature of Things

Icescapes | Suggested Experiences



On Display: May 2nd – June 1st
Opening Reception: Friday, May 2nd 6-9pm
FREE Artist Lecture with Melanie Flood and Sarah Knobel: Saturday, May 3rd 1-2pm

Throughout May, Newspace will display the two-person exhibition, The Nature of Things, which pairs work by Portland-based artist Melanie Flood and Montanta-based artist Sarah Knobel.

This joint exhibition capitalizes on the parallel processes and concepts that the two artists explore. Each utilizes common household objects to construct their still lives with slightly divergent interests. Knobel is expressly interested in the “fragility of the natural world,” whereas Flood uses her images to create “misaligned narratives…based on blurry childhood memories.”

In her series, Icescapes, Knobel’s process is one of constructing elaborate frozen composites containing liquids and cheaply made, synthetic items. She then photographs these sculptural objects as they melt and decay. For Knobel, “Icescapes is about abstractions. There are multiple ways of interpreting each image as landscape, object or artifact.” The perverse beauty of each melting construction stands in for the complicated and often-destructive relationship humankind has with the natural world.

Where Knobel is interested in global themes, Flood’s imagery in the series Suggested Experiences is based on a more personal narrative. Her images are also primarily constructed from household goods, but instead they “explore the passage of time with questions around cultural notions of youth and aging.” Flood’s images are also in conversation with the contemporary notion of documentation in photography and whether the image can ever fully represent the subject matter or ideas contained within.

In their own way, each body of work fits within the lineage of still life art dating back to the 16th century, with both artists utilizing evocative and textural objects to stand in for allegorical themes and symbols. Both Flood and Knobel are also solidly grounded in the timeless practice of studio-based photography and creating sculptural objects for image-making purposes.

On the occassion of The Nature of Things, Melanie Flood has printed an offset color booklet in an edition of 300, designed by Scott Ponik. It will be available for sale at Newspace for $12 throughout the duration of the exhibition.


Melanie Flood received a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. As Managing Editor of the quarterly arts publication zingmagazine she curated two solo projects, Declassified by Jenny Holzer and Roaming by Todd Hido. Before opening Melanie Flood Projects- an artists’ salon located in her Brooklyn residence she was the Photo Editor of The New York Observer. During MFP’s brief existence, the gallery was featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, & Photo District News. In 2010 Melanie relocated to Portland, Oregon where she continues to curate and create her own work. In 2014 she was the recipient of a Regional Art and Cultural Council Artistic Project Grant. This is her first two-person exhibition.

Sarah Knobel is an Assistant Professor of Art at Montana State University in Billings, Montana. Sarah holds a BFA in Studio Art from Texas State University, a MFA in Photography from the Design Architecture Art and Planning Program at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and a web development certificate from Boston University Center of Digital Imaging Arts. Her work has been featured in exhibitions national and internationally, which include Seattle, Kansas City, Belgium, Germany and Washington DC.


Gallery Hours:
Monday through Thursday 10am-9:30pm
Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm


Thank you to the Kinsman Foundation for your ongoing support of the Newspace Gallery.


Suggested Experiences by Melanie Flood is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.