MelonMelonTangerine Explores the Western U.S. From the Outside In

01.19.21 | By
MelonMelonTangerine Explores the Western U.S. From the Outside In
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For his second solo exhibition at Friedman Benda gallery, British artist Jonathan Trayte shares the surreal MelonMelonTangerine. Trayte reflected on a recent road trip through the western United States, translating his outsider perspective of the American landscape and pointing out how we perceive and use natural resources.

Color is so important as a means of persuasion, persuading people to consume in particular kinds of ways, or in appealing to specific social groups. I create synthetic painted veneers and compositions of materials that either reflect or distort this language; they’re like skins of paint or textures that create a kind of chameleon appearance.


Atomic Double

Trayte’s memories of sedimentary rock formations, Joshua trees, lichens, silver cholla cacti and prickly pears allowed him to reimagine these natural forms as highly stylized pieces of art. The otherworldly botanical garden he’s made is a layered collage of colors, materials, forms, textures and techniques that won’t soon be forgotten.


Black Dakota



light fixtures

Desert Lights


Grass Green Settee


Jelly Baby


Kula Sour


Lemon Bug




Orange Foam Cola Moon 1


Orange Foam Cola Moon 2


Surf Candy

mobile art

Velvet Solar Star

MelonMelonTangerine will be on view at Friedman Benda in New York from February 15th through March 13th, 2021.

Photos courtesy Friedman Benda and Jonathan Trayte.

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.