A selection of paintings by Creighton Michael drawn from three separate series---Notation, Field and Pulse—will be featured in the fourth installment of the VantagePoint series at the Mint Museum of Art. In each series Michael investigates perception and conceptual insight as he explores the way images are built layer upon layer through the use of multiple, repetitive marks. Living and working in New York’s Hudson Valley, Michael often finds insight and inspiration in the sensuousness of nature. Although he references nature Michael intends that the works be “understood as meditations [rather] than as illustrations.” Creighton Michael: Patterns of Perception will be on view March 12 through July 3, 2005.
Exploring the fusion of elements taken from painting, sculpture and drawing, the artist incorporates such ideas as Surrealist automatism, chance theory and the aesthetics of Japanese gardens. Michael’s paintings at times resemble underwater life forms, dazzling constellations, or a complex surface membrane that hints at an underlying structure.
In his Notation series he makes reference to both Chinese brush painting and calligraphy by comparing “the world that is seen with the world that is felt.” This series of oil paintings completed in 1998, developed a “marking vocabulary” or a type of visual tempo, which is repeated in subsequent productions. These paintings are non-representational, yet the intricate surface patterning lends itself to a multitude of natural interpretations: coral reefs, markings in ice or patches of textured grass.
The subsequent Field series investigates the tension between surface texture and the illusion of space within the pictorial plane. According to Michael, the title of this series is an abbreviation for “field of vision.” The inspiration for the imagery was derived, in part, from the personal experiences the artist has had with ocular migraines. During one of these episodes, Michael would see after images, spots and auras which interfered with his vision and spatial perception. He translated this physiological experience into these paintings that are constructed through repetitive markings that create the illusion of three-dimensional space.
The Pulse series, begun in 2001, uses line and gesture to create a rhythmic space. In this series Michael attempts to investigate the relationship between music, rhythm and the body. The color and composition of these monumental square canvases also suggest an interior view of the human body, perhaps the brain, which is patterned with delicate blood vessels. Michael employs a compositional maze of light and color to probe the fragile beauty that can be found between order and chaos.
Creighton Michael, who resides and works in Mt. Kisco, NY, received his M.A. in art history from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and an M.F.A. in printing and multimedia from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a recipient of a Pollack Krasner Foundation grant and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. The artist will lecture about his work on Sunday, March 20 at 3 p.m. in the Van Every Auditorium at the Mint Museum of Art.
VantagePoint is an on-going contemporary art series curated by Carla M. Hanzal at the Mint Museum of Art. Each exhibition features significant contemporary artists and explores the diverse methods and approaches employed. Other artists featured in the series to date include Julie Moos, Julie Heffernan and Elizabeth Turk. The series is supported in part by a grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.
oil on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist