Memories, domestic life and the contrast of idealism vs. reality … these are all themes that inspired Mychaelyn Michalec’s new body of work, “I’ve never stopped wondering what my life would have been like.” The Oakwood artist’s solo show is being presented at Dutoit Gallery, a Front Street venue on the third floor of Building 100.
The show contains 10 mostly large-scale paintings and an installation of drawings. The works have a dreamlike quality to them. These domestic scenes, combined with bold patterns in collage-style compositions, convey a depth of emotion.
“Everyone was once a child, so everyone has experienced these universal emotions and memories,” Michalec said. “For better or worse, your home life influences you for the rest of your life. I always want my work to reconcile the differences between idealism and reality.”
These new two-dimensional works were created when Michalec won a month-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vt.
“Vermont is distractingly beautiful,” Michalec said. “The Vermont Studio Center provides you with living quarters, a huge studio overlooking the river and all of your meals. But it is a gift to have the time and space that getting selected for a month-long residency affords you and so you spend long hours working in your studio.”
One of those works is titled, “Maarten and his dream of horses,” a 30 inch-by-40 inch acrylic on canvas. It appears as if the sleeping child is dreaming of white horses with red saddle blankets. Maybe, or maybe not. The creator selects certain aspects of real vs. artistic interpretation, which is then reimagined by each viewer.
“Erasing and being erased,” a 40 inch-by-40 inch acrylic on canvas, appears to be a little more serious emotionally. The focal points convey a sense of regret or sadness. What was lost? One can only imagine the various scenarios that viewers would come up with upon seeing this painting.
“I work from photographs that I snap randomly throughout the day, and I draw from those,” Michalec said. “I put together small narratives in my work using those drawings. I use a process where I paint from projections of the drawings, but only paint the negative space of those drawn images. What people perceive as a line or edge in my work is actually the background painting showing through.”
She has fond memories of the time she spent in Vermont.
“I got to meet the New York painter David Humphrey during my stay at VSC,” Michalec said. “During a conversation with him, he said that a residency was a chance to step outside of your life and concentrate on something you care about. For me, I realized that is truly what this work is about.”
Michalec has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and a Bachelor of Art in Art History from Ohio State University and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi.
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