Melanie focuses on capturing the wild beauty of nature and sharing her passion for colour, composition and the small but meaningful everyday objects that surround us.
“Many of my treasured household objects and books feature, as they always do, my favourite piece of ikat has reappeared and I love mixing wild banksias with the season’s glorious roses, tulips, irises, sunflowers and poppies”.
Melanie Vugich grew up in the outback NSW town of Broken Hill then spent time in Adelaide, Sydney and London before venturing to Italy. She fell in love with Florence and lived there for 25 years, working as a fabric designer for high-end fashion labels, using every spare minute to paint and holding numerous exhibitions.
Relocating to the Sydney suburb of Bronte in 2010, Melanie now paints full-time and focuses on the still life genre, which allows her to celebrate the beauty of Australian native flowers and everyday household items. She also enjoys collaborative projects – in 2021 Melanie was invited to design fabrics for Oscar de la Renta and Victor Bellaish, two of the world’s most beautiful and innovative fashion labels.
Melanie’s paintings appear in private collections around Australia and in Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, London, Singapore and the US.
One highlight of my planning for this exhibition was an artist studio visit. I find them a window into their creative life – the comfort or chaos of their surroundings, the view from the workspace, tools of the trade, finished and incomplete works, books and always interesting collections. I had the pleasure of visiting one of my favourite artists in her studio! Melanie was just back from Italy and still jet-lagged and kindly showed me around the beautiful artwork and the selection of paintings she would be exhibiting in her solo show. It was the most interesting studio, nestled in the hill above Sydney’s Bronte Beach.
I loved the whole experience, the smell of the paints, an array of neatly filed brushes of all descriptions, collections of so many treasures brought from her Italian home in Florence for 25 years, especially the mocha pots, and the dazzlingly bright light and glistening blue from the ocean streaming through the light filled room. Thank you so much Melanie for showing me around your charming studio, with an outlook to the sea, and I look forward to hanging some of those delightful new works selected for the exhibition.
Melanie, who is well known for her domestic interiors, specifically ‘tablescapes’, has, more recently, been noted for the quietly exuberant work she has been doing in designing fabric prints for New York fashion houses Oscar de la Renta and Roberto Cavilli, and fashion designer Victor Bellaish. Throughout the US spring season, Melanie’s magnolia print was worn by numerous celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Sarah Jessica Parker and Dr Jill Biden. Spring 2022 New York collections were followed up by another beautiful collaboration with Oscar de la Renta, for the label’s Fall 2022 collection and again for the Spring 2023 collection.
Melanie’s intensity of colour could be classified as her signature style, an explosion of bright orange and yellow often mixed in surprising ways with soft pinks and pastel blues and set on a dark charcoal background. And always, with rich, thick brush strokes using the most luscious of oil paints. My sense is that Melanie has great fun designing these paintings and fabrics, and also gains great pleasure from seeing others enriched by the experience – this collection of small and large paintings will bring much joy to those attending the exhibition.
About WINTERLY: Melanie Vugich
“I started painting this body of work during the early winter months, when the rain was endless, but the rolling clouds and muted light were so utterly beautiful. As I set up my tablescapes and started mixing colours, my signature shades of pink, coral and amber began to deepen and those moody grey hues in the sky found their way onto my paintbrush.
Being kept inside by the weather and giving myself plenty of preparation time allowed a lot of energy to go into each brushstroke, and I enjoyed generously lathering on the paint. Many of my treasured household objects and books feature, as they always do, my favourite piece of ikat has reappeared and I loved mixing wild banksias with the season’s glorious roses, tulips, irises, sunflowers and poppies”.
Almost everything Melanie Vugich loves is encapsulated the paintings in the charming and colour enriched tablescapes she paints from her beachside Sydney home. Old mocha pots, quaint china pieces, books, treasured tablecloths and gifted favourite floral blooms enrich each artwork. And in her signature shades of pink, coral and amber the paint is generously lathered.
“Many of my treasured household objects and books feature, as they always do, my favourite piece of ikat has reappeared and I loved mixing wild banksias with the season’s glorious roses, tulips, irises, sunflowers and poppies”.
Melanie’s attention to detail, great interest in fabric design and knowledge of colour and patterns have all helped to build her international reputation in a practice well known for its elegant approach to design. Her ability to combine elements from a number of different cultures (having lived in Florence for 25 years) has attracted the attention of Oscar de la Renta where her recent designs have been selected for both the 2022 and 2023 fashion collections.
The paintings, mostly florals and fruits, oil on board, are a mix of pinks and reds, burnt orange, charcoal and hints of blue, further adding to quiet elegance. Melanie’s unerring ability to combine the vintage and the contemporary draw the viewer into the detail of her design.
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Natural Wonders & Afternoon Tea on French PinkSold
A Magical Hour with You on IkatSold
Daydreaming of Another Time & PlaceSold
A Sweet Winter’s Morning at Alfred StreetSold
Gifted Tulips & Brunch with MatisseSold
Rosy Mornings & Strong Black Tea
Wild Banksia Branch in Vintage Italian VaseSold
Pretty Pink Tulips & The Elements of StyleSold
Poppies & Sencha Tea for OneSold
Gumnuts & Ginger Tea with PicassoSold
Leafy Banksia Branch on PinkSold