Melina Ausikaitis
Fall in the Leaves
May 5 – June 17
Opening reception: Friday, May 5, 5-8 PM
PERFORMANCE: Friday, May 19, 7 PM


There’s a place by the lake
there’s a stick or a stake
watch you run on four legs 
and fall in the leaves

– Excerpt from Fall in the Leaves, lyrics by Melina Ausikaitis

We relate to our memories as creations, recollections, and repressions that shape us as they lurk, and shock us when revealed. Memories inform who we understand ourselves to be, but are separate from who we are. What we do with them and what they do to us is central to Melina Ausikaitis’ latest exhibition at Regards, Fall in the Leaves. Through the use of fabric, ceramics, video, and music, Ausikaitis invites viewers to consider memory as both a tool and an obstacle in seeking truth and knowledge of the self.

The title of this exhibition comes from the video featured in the exhibition that Ausikaitis made with filmmaker Mike Gibisser, which comes from the the song she made with Nate Kinsella, which comes from the ancient Greek myth of Artemis and Actaeon to which the above quoted lyrics refer. In this myth, Actaeon accidentally witnessed Artemis in the nude and was summarily transformed by the goddess into a deer that was quickly hunted down and killed by his own dogs as he stumbled through the leaves on the forest floor. This messy combination of intention, trauma, and punishment as expressed through Ausikaitis’ lyrics opened a pathway for the video to question how doubts or beliefs forge a notions of comprehension that can either undo or reenforce the past with the aid of memory. Throughout the video, we see Ausikaitis reliving an experience of being hypnotized 12 years ago. The hypnotist’s suggestions are heard in the video, then limited to subtitles as Ausikaitis’ voice singing the song Fall in the Leaves is overlaid. The artist’s response to these recorded cues, as well as the apparent actions of others in the room, can only be perceived through the expressions on her face.

Beyond the video, the exhibition space is primarily occupied by four large, stretched, raw canvases that behave much like paintings on the walls, but serve to house works in fabric and ceramics stitched onto their surfaces. Three of these works reference old family photographs dating between 30 and 40 years old that Melina discovered on a recent trip home. She ultimately selected pictures that felt both connected and disconnected to her own memories of family members, events, and places: an uncle’s wedding, a cousin alone in a room, and high school performance of The Crucible with Melina as one of the bewitched girls. A skilled seamstress, Ausikaitis uses a variety of fabrics and techniques to reinterpret the photographs, while certain details like a case of Coke or a chair on stage have been isolated and made into ceramic objects stitched onto their fabric grounds. Hard and heavy, Melina fits these ceramic elements into and against her already fragmented constructions of figures and objects from the photographs. Together, they make a picture; one that shares something with the pictures they come from, the people that took them, and the ones who appear in these spaces. They are assembled from parts held together long enough to say we remember and helping us understand who we’ve become until they no longer can.

Through her music (Aitis Band, Joan of Arc), performance, clothing (Aitis Something), and visual art, Melina Ausikaitis impacts almost every layer of culture in Chicago. This is her second solo exhibition at Regards, where she has also put on stand-alone performances. Recent outputs of note include Aitis Band III from Record Label (2022), Singles at Regards (2020), Everyday Everyday at Devening Projects (2019), and How High the Sky at the Graham Foundation with Diane Simpson and every house has a door (2018).

Artist biography





Williams Wedding 1985, 2023, dyed canvas and ceramic on canvas, 60 x 60 inches




The Crucible 1990, 2023, nylon and ceramic on canvas, 60 x 60 inches




MHC session 2011, 2023, ceramic, 9 x 12 inches



Mark 1973, 2022, fabric and ceramics on canvas, 60 x 60 inches




Mozart steps 2013, 2023, painted canvas and fabric on canvas, 60 x 60 inches




Fall in the Leaves, 2023, Video, 6:27, Music by Melina Ausikaitis and Nate Kinsella, Directed by Mike Gibisser