Painter: minimalist hard edge op/art
Designer: architectural stained glass
Mel Geary was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He studied fine art at the St. Paul Art School for two years, at the University of Minnesota for three years and at the Waldorf Teacher Training Institute in Detroit, Michigan for two years. At the age of 21, while studying at the University of Minnesota, he began painting using oils and acrylics. During that time period he worked at the Walker Art Center, serving as exhibition designer and consultant to Barnes, the architect of The Walker Art Center. From 1955 to 1961 he maintained a salon for artists.
In 1961 he moved to New York, where he lived and worked until 1998. His painting evolved from abstract expressionism to hard-edge/op-art with a focus on color relationships. His work was exhibited in galleries in New York, Canada and the Midwest, as well as in many private collections. He was influenced in his painting by his friends and peers, Jim Rosenquist, Robert Indiana, Mark Rothko and Claus Oldenberg. James Rosenquist considered Mel Geary among the best in the world, in his style.
During the 1960s Mel oversaw the installation of a number of shows, including the Pop Artists Group Exhibit at the New York World's Fair, and group shows at the Harkness Center in Pennsylvania. He provided architectural and design consultation for The Leo Castelli Galleries and assistant to Richard Bellamy of The Green Gallery, and also helped many artists design their own residential studios. He oversaw the design and construction of Max's Kansas City Restaurant/Nightclub, and for a time he managed the restaurant, which was a gathering place for many in the art world.
In 1969 Mel opened Geary and Spahn Associates, which was a stained glass and design studio located in Minneapolis. He began to explore the elements of light and color using stained glass and sculpture. He designed and installed a number of stained glass windows and three dimensional treatments in homes, churches, public buildings and restaurants in Minnesota, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, New York, and in Europe. From 1972 to 1973 he was a liaison between the community and architect for Camp Hill Village. And from 1973 to 1978 he designed architectural stained glass projects for R.H. Marketing Company in New York City. He uses only mouth blown, genuine antique glass and he works with master artisans who employ the more esoteric stained glass techniques of colors and designs that are permanently fired into the glass. Mel also paints murals, designs both glass and ceramic mosaics, fountains and furniture.
Today, Mel Geary maintains a studio in New York, and another in rural Pennsylvania, where he lives. He continues his painting and stained glass design work, and travels to Manhattan frequently, in order to stay current with the New York art world. He welcomes inquiries and visitors to his very active studio upon invitation.