Immersed in the Sicilian landscape and smell, touching the earth, with form and color – Melanie Roher at Villa R

Melanie Roher is a visual artist painter from New York.  As a student at Pratt Institute, Melanie gravitated to the integration of fine art and design. Inspired by the art trends of the late 1960s, she chose to work professionally in the then nascent field of graphic design. Melanie began her design career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, designing exhibitions and graphics to interpret and promote them for the public. Working on staff at the Met for six years gave her the ability to study art and history intimately, and firsthand on a daily basis.

Working directly with curators and learning about the exhibit content firsthand was an unparalleled educational experience. Later, Melanie served as art director for Mobil Oil Corporation and ultimately formed her own design firm, Roher/Sprague Partners of Irvington, NY.

Throughout the design career Roher continued to express her vision of surroundings in oil on canvas, watercolor, and pastel. The artist’ interest has been landscape and still life as both inspire her use the geometry of the scene, to create compostions that express what it feels like to be there.

The shapes, color and light in the Hudson Valley where Melanie lives, and Block Island, and Long Island Sound, where she spends summers, have been the inspiration for many of her landscape paintings.
Melanie likes to draw and photgraph on-site. She composes the scene using camera lens, and then use those images as reference for studio work. The photographs and sketchs are reminders of what it felt like to be in that place.

Melanie enjoys traveling and experiencing life in other parts of the world, which has resulted in a series of paintings of Japan, France, and the American West. The artist seems to always be compelled to share her personal experience and sense of place by painting how “I see it”.

As an artist, Melanie is inspired to interpret the landscape around her, and in particular those environments that evoke strong emotion while she is there. The artist tries to translate her personal reaction to an environment with form and color, to create the feeling of what it is like to be in that place, rather than a literal translation of it.

Melanie’s daily work with color and composition seems to influence everything she does. Currently the artist is focused on taking her painting and drawing in a more abstract direction, keeping the landscape as subject. She is interested in using nature’s shapes, compositions and color as a starting point for her imagination. In a second moment the artist focuses on the needs of the picture as it develops. The landscape is only meant to evoke reality, but the actual subject becomes secondary to the composition.

At Villa R Melanie Roher immersed herself full-time into the creation of new works. The idea of being able to create art without the interruption of other work, daily life and family, has been a gift that encouraged the artist to find voice as a painter, in an inspiring and exclusive place.

To immerse herself in the Sicilian landscape, smell and touch the earth, eat the food that is grown nearby, and hear another language, while having the opportunity to paint that experience, inspired Melanie and enabled her to develop a new body of work…

Melanie experienced her residency at Villa R together with her husband, Stephen Schwarz, whom is a poet and movie director.

View and follow Melanie’s art at:



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