Derick Melander creates large geometric sculptures from carefully folded and stacked second-hand clothing. He sorts the garments by hue, color, value, or intensity and arranges them to create patterns and gradients. These works often take the form of columns, walls and enclosures, typically weighing between eight hundred pounds and two tons.
As clothing wears, fades, stains and stretches, it becomes an intimate record of our physical presence. As the sculptures grow and the layers of clothing accumulate, the individual garments are compressed into a single mass. This symbolic gesture explores the conflicted space between society and the individual, a space that is ceaselessly broken and re-constituted.
For Derick, the process of sorting, folding and stacking adds a layer of meaning to the work. When he comes across a dress with a hand-sewn repair, a coat with a name written inside the collar, the work starts to feel like a collective portrait.
Derick’s goal is to celebrate and honor both the individual and the community in each work he creates.