-1998 New York Times Newspaper
Expo XVII B.J. Spoke Gallery, Huntington,Long Island, New York
One of five winners of the cooperative galleryâs annual international juried show
Juried by Jane Adlin, research associate in 20th-century art at the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan, New York.
âMichael Fornadley, a painter from Pickerington, Ohio, labors under no illusion of plausibility, since his quirky tempera tableaus depict the odd antics of characters acting out improbably confrontations in a theater of the absurd.â
Jane Adlin, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jurorâs Statement:
âThe winners of the B.J. Spoke Expo 17 competition share one important and enduring quality even in their diverse art woks - that is the ability to convey an inner strength, a conviction and belief in their art. It is brilliantly felt in . . . highly evocative story paintings of Michael Fornadley. .
The ability to make the viewer feel and share in that strength which the artist portrays, is a gift which each of these men and women possess.â
-1996 The Columbus Dispatch Newspaper, reviewed by Kay Koeninger
11th Annual Curated Exhibition of the Columbus Ohio Art League
âMichael Fornadleyâs narrative paintings on wood owe much to the work of Max Beckmann, who frequently incorporated ambiguous psychological themes. Fornadley paints groups of figures interacting, often in disturbing ways that critique society. The viewer is confronted with the defining power of collective, rather than individual forces.
One side of the painting âMuseum Piece 1993 shows an artist painting in a studio. Nearby, a figure points into a museum room on the tour side of the painting. There, a man in a tuxedo - is he a museum director, a curator or a critic - aims a cannon at the artist.â
-1995 The Columbus Dispatch Newspaper, reviewed by Eva Heisler
Biennial Columbus Art League Invitational, exhibited at the Columbus Ohio Art Museum
The work was selected by Mimi Young of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York
âFornadleyâs gestures, . . . are a curious combination of restraint and histrionics.â
âThe paintings on plywood feature a large cast of characters engaged in actions that, for the most part, remain inexplicable. In âOriginal Sinâ, couples carry green tables while a man dressed in a devil costume motions to a woman to begin their chess game. A child has pointed his toy cannon at the devilâs back.
In âPandoraâs Boxâ, a woman has fallen next to the hospital bed, under her arms an ambiguous white form - possibly a drawing or a map. The man in the bed gestures toward two men running with a box. One of the runners points to something beyond the paintingâs frame, while another man points toward the sky.
The figures in Fornadleyâs paintings are highly theatrical in their gestures - pointing, running, clutching odd objects. This theatricality, however is in marked contrast to anonymity of the bodies. Figures are seldom distinguishable from one another.
The often expressionless faces are rendered with black line. Black also outlines the bodies, whose pink tones are modulated with orange. The artistâs tendency to stumble orange and yellow over darker colors gives the predominantly gray paintings an odd yellow cast.
Fornadleyâs paintings look like illustrations, but they do not yield to explication. The artist deliberately, and at times quite masterfully, leads the eye through a theatrical space. Moving from turned head to pointed finger to splayed body and mysterious object, we assume ourselves to be embarked on a narrative that at any moment will yield its logic.
The titles, often drawn from the Bible or myth, confirm a sense of urgency. A painting, âOriginal Sinâ, is assumed to be allegorical, so the viewer may ponder the relationship between playing chess and eating forbidden fruit.
But Fornadleyâs paintings employ a host of narrative gestures without any attempt to develop a narrative thread.
Similar gestures and poses are used over and again in paintings. There is nearly always a figure running. At least one person, often several, is pointing. Objects, tables, paintings, mysterious boxes - are in the process of being moved. Other objects are hoisted or clutched - an infantâs coffin, a chalkboard, a mermaid. and at least one person is in the background, watching impassively.
The artist admits that the titles - while often literally allusions occur after the paintings are finished, and that the narrative to which the titles refer is not a factor in the paintingsâ evolution. Because of the structure of a Fornadley painting, one is driven to find a story. The story found, however, will be the effect of storytelling gestures rather than their source.
This is a significant difference, one that contributes to the strangeness and success of the paintings. Fornadleyâs work acts as illustration but adds up to painting.â
1995 The Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition
Jurors: Barbara K. Gibbs, director of the Cincinnati Art museum Irving Lippmann, executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art and Duane Michaels, an internationally respected photographer.
âNotable paintings include Michael Fornadleyâs narrative workâ
-1993 The Columbus Dispatch, reviewed by Lesley Constable
Carte Blanche: Columbus Art League Invitational held at the Columbus Ohio Museum of Art
Juror: Internationally known artist Ann Hamilton
âFornadleyâs âTurtleâ is a masterful composition that successfully combines the many elements he likes to juggle, including grappling with opposites such as the diptych faux diptych format, crumbled surfaces and dark cryptic narratives. Unlike many other claustrophobic works, this one is comparatively open and uses high contrast to forward the narrative. Its motifs are sails, boats on wheels one pulled by a small and stoic turtle, hence the title and beautifully painted figures. The palette in âGrave Imageâ, awash in upbeat green, is considerable lightened.â
-1992 The Columbus Dispatch, reviewed by Jacqueline Hall
The Columbus Art Leagueâs 1992 Fall Exhibition
Juror: Anne Perrigo, a ceramist from Seattle and visiting artist at the Ohio State University
âFiguration dominates the show. Its range includes . . . An emotion-packed realism in the egg oil tempera Victims by Michael Fornadleyâ
-1992 The Columbus Dispatch, reviewed by Jacqueline Hall
81st Annual Columbus Art League Exhibition, held at the Columbus Ohio Museum of Art
Juror: Ofelia Garcia president of the Atlanta College of Art and former director of the Philadelphia Print Cub
âTo Kick a Yellow dogâ by Michael Fornadley, with its mask like human faces, talks of indifference toward the mistreatment of the weak and defenseless.â