MELANA BONTRAGER artist statement 

I am fascinated by the complexities and details of relationships. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I am surrounded by the richness of nature: the layers in soil, the jagged patterns in rock, the physical interaction between shape and line. These natural components can simultaneously offer a soothing element of repetition, and an unsettling element of fragmentation. Similarly, our reality as human beings hold these same elements of tension: our experiences are rarely all-good or all-bad, rather, we experience everything in chorus. There can be beauty in these seemingly contradictory elements; an unexpected harmony and loveliness. It is this beautiful contradiction that I attempt to convey in my work.

As an artist with a background in Art Therapy, I place high value on the thought and motivation behind creative expression. Art reflects life. Life is an abstract of emotions and experiences and happenings: we don’t often get to see the big picture, but the details engage us and we are drawn into the intimacy of individual moments. These moments can be sacred, they can be unnerving, they can be hopeful. I create in response to the moments I observe and experience. It is my intent that my focus on line, color, composition, and abstraction in my art invite new perspectives, shift perceptions of reality, and ignite conversation.




Spring 1999     MA – Creative Arts Therapy,
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

Spring 1997     BFA – Art/Psychology,
Taylor University, Upland, IN

Spring 1996     Photography/Painting/Drawing,
Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy      


2019    Art of Story, Featured Artist, Michael Birawer Gallery, Seattle, WA

2019    Drawn Into Story, Art and Music Collaboration, Everett, WA

2018    Holiday Show, Group Show, Michael Birawer Gallery, Seattle, WA

2018    Arts Bestowed, Holiday Group Show, Traumhaus Gallery, Snohomish, WA

2018    Landscape Abstracts, Duo Exhibition, Traumhaus Gallery, Snohomish, WA

2018    Fresh Paint Artist Festival, Everett, WA

2018    Seattle Emerging Arts Fair, Seattle Art Post, Seattle, WA

2018    Bellevue Art Museum Arts Festival, Bellevue, WA  

2018    Make Your Mark, Summer National Juried Exhibition, Marin MOCA, Novato, CA

2018    Artistic Impressions, International publication, World of Interiors magazine, London, UK

2018    Visual Impressions, Juried group show, Ryan James Fine Arts, Kirkland, WA

2018    Everett Art Walk, Solo exhibit, Everett, WA

2017    Emonds Art Walk, Solo exhibit, Edmonds, WA

2017    4th Annual Living Mark Exhibition, ​Juried group show, Verum Ultimum, Portland, OR

2017    Emerald Spring Exhibition, Juried group show, Emerald Art Center, Springfield, OR 

2017    WAOW Spring Online Exhibit, Juried group show,

2016    Art and Wine, Wicked Cellars Gallery, Solo show: painting and jazz collaboration with John Carswell, 

                Everett, WA

2016    20th Juried Show, Schack Art Center, Juried group show, Everett, WA
2008-2016    Fresh Paint Art Festival, Participant Artist, Everett, WA

2015     Microcosmos, Gallery 621,    Juried group show, Benicia, CA
2015     Juried Alumni Exhibition, Taylor University, Juried group show, Upland, IN
2014     Fresh Paint Artist Festival, Featured artist ,Everett, WA
2012     Art and Wine, Wicked Cellars Gallery, Solo show: multi-discipline art collaboration, Everett, WA
2013     17th Juried Show, Schack Art Center, Juried group show, Everett, WA
2010     14th Juried Show, Schack Art Center, Juried group show, Everett, WA
2010     Pacific Northwest Abstract Show, Gallery by the Bay, Group show, Stanwood, WA
2010     Wicked Cellars Gallery, Solo show, Everett, WA
2009    Art and Furniture Show, White Sage Studio, Group show, Ballard, WA
2009    Art and Architecture, TeamTroy Realty, Group show, Ballard, WA
2009    Belltown Art Walk, Group show, Seattle, WA
2008    Art on the Town, Gallery by the Bay, Group show, Bellevue, WA
2007    Art as Home Decor, Bellevue Home Show, Gallery representation exhibition, Bellevue, WA
2007    Spring Show, Gallery by the Bay, Group show, Stanwood, WA
2007    Local Art, Lowell Artworks Gallery, Group show, Lowell, WA
2007    Wallingford Art Walk, Business/Art collaboration, Seattle, WA
2005    Small Works, d.Art Gallery, Juried group show,  Southampton, MA
2000-2003   Semeiotic Gallery Show, Semeiotic, Annual group show, Chicago, IL


2017    Theater Set Design, The Dance School, Everett, WA
2016    Reflections--Everett School District Competition, Juror, Everett, WA
​2016-17 Reflections--Port Gardner Art Competition, Chair, Everett, WA
2016    WAOW--Women Artists of the West, Associate member
2016-18 Pints and Pumpkins,​ Schack Art Center, ​Commissioned Art pieces, ​Everett, WA
2010-2019 H’Arts Auction, Schack Art Center, Art donation/participation, Everett, WA
2015    Reflections—PTSA Mukilteo Art Competition, Juror, Mukilteo, WA
2014    Scholastic Art Awards, Juror, Snohomish Co, WA  
2013    Schack Art Center, Grant, 2014 art festival poster, Everett, WA
2013    Street Tunes, Commissioned public art piece, Everett, WA
2013    Washington State Art Educators Conference, Presenter, Des Moines, WA
2011    City of Everett art collaboration, Commissioned city mural project, Everett, WA