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      


2018 Bellevue Art Museum Arts Festival, Bellevue, WA (accepted)

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, WAOW.org

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, Commissioned Christmas Tree, 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
2016-17 Pints and Pumpkins,​ Schack Art Center, ​Commissioned Art pieces, ​Everett, WA
2010-2018 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