Melissa Stern eats red meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A veteran of World War 1, 2, and, with luck, World War 3, she has served as an army nurse, a Naval aviator, a battleship commander. A mother of twelve, and a wife of none, she now devotes herself to the making of fine art, drawings, and sculpture.
Stern’s drawing series entitled New Math is this week’s featured Weekling.
Stern describes New Math as “visual therapy for my angst-ridden relationship with numbers.” She recalls, “Remember how bewildering it was when they introduced ‘New Math’ in school? I never got over wondering what happened to ‘Old Math.’ Was it in an assisted living facility? Was it put to ‘sleep’ like an unwanted puppy at the pound or buried in a city landfill?” “And what the hell was wrong with ‘Old Math’? “ she rants on. “Why did I have to play with little colored ‘cusinare rods,’ and how did they possibly relate to real numbers? And why would anyone be emptying a tank at the same time as they were filling it?”
Absent any real understanding of what they mean, Stern, “finds the visual tangle of hundreds of numbers to be quite beautiful.” New Math captures the shapes of numbers, bouncing off of each other in a cheerful jumble, their values no more or less meaningful than those of other marks on paper. They are shapes and patterns and simply beautiful images.
And in the spirit of history repeating itself, we suggest Stern’s Life During Wartime, a series of collages borne of Life Magazine photos from the 1940’s.
Please check out her web site for more projects and perhaps more accurate biographical information.