b. 1965; New York City, NY
His father owned a fine art moving business and his mother was a Playwright/Director. They were surrounded by a diverse crowd of artists, such as filmmaker Gary Galsworth and painter Charles Mingus Jr. Michael’s family moved across the USA, living in Madison and Santa Fe, and finally settling on Whidbey Island in Washington State. He spent his teenage years clearing a six-acre plot of land with his family and building a seven-sided geodesic dome house. Michael attended The Evergreen State College from 1983-87, studying film and photography. After graduation he took his camera and, over a ten-year period, traveling extensively throughout Europe. While traveling he lived with, performed with, and documented circus performers and their communities. Michael draws on his eclectic past for inspiration—strongly influenced by his travels throughout Spain and France and rich colors and textures marked by time. His artwork is collected by individuals and corporations worldwide.
“My paintings are meditative studies done with rich colors and bold graphic compositions—I often incorporate circles, grids and stripes. The universality and appeal of this symbology pulls the viewer in and holds them there to explore the subtle details. I try to create work that both captivates and calms. I work with abstractions because I want to put forth something universal that can be open to interpretations that are unique to each individual and can continue to evolve over time. A common theme in my painting is the relationship between rigid linear form and the organic flow of nature, order and disorder. I feel this is reflective in many ways of our society and people’s’ longing for something more than the sterility of technology in our modern lives. I believe inclusion of these two elements creates a certain universal harmony in many of my paintings.
My pieces are also about the act of painting itself. I explore the physical nature of my materials and push to use unique and original methods of applying them. Many times there is strong evidence of my physical relationship to the canvas as I paint—using my body motion as a natural pendulum and the random arcs of my markings. Other works are done on wood panels that I coat with a plaster mixture and carve into before it sets. The geometrical markings bring to mind old nautical maps and celestial charts. I then apply multiple rounds of color washes (oil paints thinned with a clear oil-based polyurethane medium) giving the work a richly colored, almost glass-like surface. By virtue of the tactile painting surfaces and transparent and linear handling much of the process is revealed that can be traced chronologically. This leaves the paintings with a sense of history and ‘archaeology’.'“