My recent work is an expression of emotion, movement, and energy, emphasizing a balance of color and form while referencing digital art, landscape, abstract expressionism, and the bauhaus art movement. Fluid, organic, dimensional brushstrokes carve their way through the surrounding hard-edge abstract forms which, from a distance, appear as flat planes of color but which are unexpectedly composed of slabs of thick paint etched with visible brush strokes that draw attention to the paintings surface and physicality while contributing to the overall movement and dynamism of the work.
Multiple tensions arise between the spontaneous and the intentional, the gestural and the static, the flat and dimensional, and between digital references and nature or the artist’s hand.
Michelle’s work was recently selected by curator Jarred De Palo for inclusion in the group show ‘Community,’ at Westward Gallery. In 2021, Michelle was awarded representation with Dimmitt Contemporary Art in Houston, Texas. Her work was selected by juror Nina Blumberg for the 14th Edition of ‘Friend of the Artist,’ an art book that elevates emerging artists from around the world and also featured in the inaugural issue of ‘All She Makes,’ a new magazine supporting women in the arts, curated by @artgirlrising.
Michelle received a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas, Austin in 2007, with concentrations in Painting, Drawing, Sculpture and Serigraphy.
What initially compelled you to create your work?
The act of painting is a meditative and centering experience for me. The emotions I feel while working, along with the music I listen to, are the guiding force.
What main topic does your artwork address and why?
I describe my work as a kind of lyrical, abstract, expression of emotion, energy and form. I draw inspiration from many sources and artistic movements, with loose references to place, digital art, and the visualization of sound.
This large-scale work requires the full extension of my body. The back-and-forth brushstrokes, whether fluid and subdued, or energetic with abrupt articulation, allude to sound, a transcription of an improvised dance. The composition of solid shapes applied in thick paint surrounding the focal brushstrokes, echo the directional gestures of the dance in their surface etching and outline.
Color is of central importance, delineating one blocked plane from another, vibrating through placement, generating harmony, and effecting surprise where its use is less expected but equally considered.
One of the more unique aspects of the work is the optical illusion that the focal brushstrokes have wiped away or erased the subsequent layers, in a perceived reversal of application and time.
These suspended strokes have the appearance of receding and advancing while remaining optically flat, as if digitally rendered. They assert their dominance, both compositionally and focally, over the substantive layers of paint that provide tangible depth, a metaphorical reference to the flattening of space in the digital realm asserting dominance over the physical.
In your artistic journey, what has been the most challenging point thus far?
Leaning into my own intuition and optimism to stay the course when I’ve lacked a supportive community of people who appreciate and understand the call to pursue art.
Is there an aspect of your life that especially impacts your practice?
I had a baby boy over the summer of 2021 only 6 weeks after signing on with Dimmitt Contemporary Art in Houston, Texas. So, as any artist parent can relate, striking some kind of balance between parenthood and making artwork is a constant effort. But both are rewarding and enjoyable in their own way, and I’m so thankful to have had the ability to be both this past year.
What do you do when you find yourself at a creative block?
I have to listen to music. Sometimes I’ll get outside or take a walk while listening. I prefer songs with a strong repetitive beat where the vocals aren’t too loud or dominant. There’s something about that repetition that I find meditative. I also find looking at other people’s artwork really inspiring so going to see a show in person, or spending some time scrolling Instagram is usually helpful.