In meticulous oil paintings, Michael Sagato depicts the nude human figure, mainly female, in surreal or absurd situations, exploring themes of duality, balance, love, androgyny, and human interdependencies. Sagato combines an Old Master technique with experimental lighting and colors to form his psychologically charged images. In Heart, for instance, Sagato portrays the torsos of two female figures in white drapery against a crimson background, fused at the shoulder and presented in the shape of the human heart. He has also painted nude figures in elephant masks and absurdist postures, rendered on aluminum. “The reason oil paints are my preferred medium is because it gives me the most broad spectrum of color and values,” he says. Sagato has cited John Singer Sargent, Odd Nerdrum, William Adolphe Bouguereau, and Walt Disney as influences on his practice.