Melissa Wilkinson, associate professor of art teaching painting at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, has won the 2019 Artist Award of the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The artist can use the prize of $2,000 to advance her career.
Wilkinson likes to rearrange images of body parts in her work, as in her painting “Legs” in the 2017 faculty show at ASU. In Wilkinson’s current body of work, “Unnatural Histories,” the artist modifies 19th-century nature drawings, replacing elements of the artwork with flowers or butterfly wings of faces. (In the work above, she’s infused roses and gumballs into John James Audubon’s print of a whooping crane.) She’ll use her award to travel to the Smithsonian American Institute in Washington, D.C., to study its collection of nature drawings.
Wilkinson was selected by the state committee of NMWA as a “Woman to Watch” in 2015.
Wilkinson is a native of Waukegan, Wis. She has a master of fine arts degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University.