Artist / painter
Michael was raised in Italy, Spain, and Belgium, before returning to Canada to study. He studied fine arts at the University of Guelph and OCAD University in Ontario, Canada, and the Academie des Beaux-Arts de Watermael-Boitsfort in Brussels, Belgium, before completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at NSCAD University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Following art school he made films/videos for a number of years before returning to painting and drawing. He currently lives, and maintains a studio practice, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
My paintings and drawings primarily consist of figure compositions, often a lone figure, that explore personal and social themes through metaphor, narrative or implied narrative, and mythology, along with a good dose of ambiguity. Painting for me is seldom an end in itself but a means to express more serious thoughts and feelings. My use of the figure allows me a greater degree of specificity in addressing themes which are basic and timeless: human relationships and our relationship with nature and spirit. I focus on relationships in my work because that’s all we have. If we don’t have relationships with ourselves, with each other, with nature and with spirit, we have very little.
My paintings and drawings are a layering of marks that remain faithful to the photographic source material and marks that seem 'accidental'. The history of the application of the medium - the textures that results from the addition and subtraction of paint or charcoal that are put down in layers and are sometimes partially or wholly covered over- is evident in the final work. This type of mark making reveals both the process used and the time it took to make the work. The figures inhabit that temporal environment.
The images come about through this lengthy creative process in which I am always also aware of art historical antecedents – artists that inspire me.
The viewer, for their part, becomes a witness to the narrative or implied narrative and to the layers that are built up over time. The dramatic and technical narratives in the painting are carriers of emotion - mine. Even if my paintings are representational, I prefer to convey emotion over description. If my work resonates emotionally with the viewer even for a little while, much like we feel after watching a good movie, then I have achieved something.
In this world of fast paced images and overstimulation I believe that painting, perhaps more than ever, can provide meaning and significance and allow for moments of quiet contemplation, deeper questioning and wonder. Art can help us elucidate why we are here, where we have been and where we might be going. Painting still offers us an incomparable and honest insight into what it is to be human and our place in the world.