Brother Mel: A Niche All His Own - A Commentary by Anne Brown

It's that happy time of year at The Arts Company, when Brother Mel comes to Nashville to celebrate his birthday, bringing with him new artwork and signature pieces to keep us updated on what his interests are at the moment.

This year his visit is both literary and artistic--the literary part is a book-signing at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on Friday, June 4, 7:00 pm to talk with me about how his life and art came together in a book-length presentation of the variety and depth of his work. This occasion offers an unusual opportunity for collectors and friends of Brother Mel to have time to ask questions and talk to him in depth. We have created a commemorative bookmark to mark this special occasion.

The next day, June 5, we will celebrate his actual birthday and the art part of his trip--his latest exhibit at The Arts Company opening during First Art Saturday, 6-9 pm. Our gallery will be chock full of Brother Mel artwork--literally from floor to ceiling in a particularly dramatic and theatrical presentation. Some of the larger sculptures featured in the book about his work, Brother Mel: A Lifetime of Making Art, made it to Nashville for his exhibit at The Arts Company this year, including Art 101 and a fresh new version of Don Quixote, complemented by new oversized watercolor abstracts; bicycles and guitars in his new style, new approaches to his signature series of icons, and new pieces mixing dalle de verre with steel sculpture.

As Brother Mel and I were nearing the end of putting the book together last fall, he noted that it was hard for him to tell when the book would reach its final end. His lifetime of energetic art-making drives him always to think that "the best is yet to come." The book might end, but his best work might still be coming. The book has now been out just five months or so, and he continues to do what he does best--make art 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year, "bringing beauty to space to lift up spirits."

This year is Brother Mel's 82nd birthday--over 60 years as a Catholic brother in the Marianist order and over 50 years as a working artist. Preview the book about Brother Mel HERE. Better yet, put Brother Mel's visit in your schedule this week. Artists like Brother Mel don't pass our way often. He is a rare phenomenon, an art saint, if ever there should be one. He would seriously scoff at that, but it is an observation with merit. Come see for yourself. He occupies a niche all his own.