G FINE ART BEGINS 10TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON with MAGGIE MICHAEL - "THERE is NO RISING or SETTING SUN"
Michael’s 4th solo exhibition features The Danube Series – drawings created in Romania Summer 2011 and New Studio Paintings
G Fine Art begins its 10th anniversary season with There is No Rising or Setting Sun, new paintings and works on paper by Maggie Michael. An opening reception will be held Saturday, September 10, 6-8PM, and the exhibition will run through October 15, 2011. Michael’s fourth solo exhibition features a group of works on paper – the Danube Series – executed this summer in Cetate, Romania, following the artist’s recent completion of a large scale mural for the US Embassy in Bucharest, a commission from the US ART in Embassies Program. Paintings executed at the artist’s studio in Washington, DC will also be featured.
The new work sees a further evolution in Michael’s oeuvre following the introduction of text-based works in her exhibition All at Once (2008). In There is No Rising or Setting Sun, text is both obscured and evident: “I incorporate the negative and positive shapes of letters in areas of paintings for an abstract recognition and texture, no pun intended. Sometimes, these areas are not saying anything; however, the letter shapes/negative spaces are familiar and exist not to be decoded, but there.” The work and spirit of Samuel Beckett are predominant, whether in appropriated text such as: “no symbols where none intended” and “The tears of the world are a constant quality …The same is true of the laugh,” or in a text-less painting referencing the curiosity of Beckett’s character Watt (from the novel of the same name), who tries to understand an abstract image. “Like abstract painting,” says the artist, “Beckett’s works are experienced, heard, and understood on instinct, pressingly (depressingly) open; the viewer fills in the spaces.”
Speaking of the exhibition’s title, Michael said, “The sun reference is a way of noticing that perhaps the most inspirational phenomenon – day break or sunset – is not as it seems. The sun does not rise or fall; it is in a relatively fixed position. On the other hand, the sun will appear to always be rising or setting somewhere, according to multiple points and perspectives.”
All of the works in the Danube Series are on paper with ink and spray paint mixed with water from this storied, 1,770 mile-long river that courses through nine countries, from the Black Forest to the Black Sea. The use of the river water was both poetic and necessary – Michael had no running water in her studio, so she and a friend carried a heavy jug from the Danube. The artist used antiquated musical reproduction devices – vinyl records of works by Verdi, Diana Ross and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and piano rolls of Wagner – as stencils. “The piano rolls,” says Michael, “simply represent sound – a decodable analog, caught between mechanical and digital translations. Visually, for me, they represent the rhythmic vertical flow of rain, waterfalls, or windows lit at night in a skyscraper. Or horizontally, the piano roll stencil is a river current or an urban flow of pedestrians. Diagonally, a stronger momentum is implied, a celestial light or wind.”
About Maggie Michael
Maggie Michael lives and works in Washington, DC. Michael holds an MFA from American University, an MA from San Francisco State University and a BFA from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She has completed an Artist Research Fellowship with the Smithsonian Institution and an Artist Residency at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, both in Washington, DC. Michael participated in Jan Verwoert’s residency Why Are Conceptual Artists Painting Again? Because They Think it is a Good Idea at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. Michael was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, The Trawick Prize, and a Young Artist Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an organization supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. Michael's work has been exhibited in international galleries and nonprofit, private and public collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the University of Maryland, George Mason University, the US Art and Embassies Program, and the Federal Reserve Board. Michael’s work has been featured in At Length magazine and reviewed in The Washington Post, Art Papers, and Art in America.