MARCH 10 – APRIL 21, 2018
Dear Future Self is a solo exhibit by Michigan-based artist Michael Reedy. His painstakingly detailed mixed media works blend traditional, anatomical figurative art with contemporary design elements and emotive symbolism that contemplate boundaries of many kinds – life and death, beauty and ugliness, the present, past, and future. Where a memento mori is a reminder of death, Reedy’s work instead embraces life and mortality as dual images, conceptually and visually. His subjects are complicated and vulnerable individuals, contrasted by the machinery of life that lies beneath the skin, an intricate architecture of bone, nerves, and organs rendered with an eerie beauty. The use of vibrant color, glittering texture, and surreal, sometimes cartoonish background features reframes a classical subject matter through the lens of modernity, a tangled mess of humor, sadness, fear, and the ecstasy of life.
The delicate strands of silver hair that have started to populate my wife’s head most easily explain what motivates my work. At one moment, I find them incredibly beautiful, and celebrate the fact that I have had the opportunity to share my life with her, and in another moment, I am struck with my fear of growing older and eventually losing her. Everything eventually seems to revolve around this point-of- tension between beauty and despair, between living and dying. My hope has been, that by employing a range of pictorial conventions (medical illustration, op art, classical nudes, etc.) I could blur the contentious boundaries between life and death, personhood and object, and the beautiful and the ugly; laying one on top of the others like a series of scripts that can be read simultaneously. I enjoy the complex range of emotions that results, where beauty, love, pain, loss, and despair seem entwined and inseparable. However, it is our ability to persevere in light of this duality that motivates much of my work – and it should be stressed that I prefer to find the beauty in that silver hair. The characters that populate my work are only flirting with death – even the skeletons and skull portraits are very much living in my mind.
Michael Reedy received his MFA in painting from Northern Illinois University in 2000 and his BA from North Central College in 1996. His work has been included in over 150 national and international exhibitions and can be viewed in numerous private and institutional collections, including Clatsop Community College, Minot State University, Shippensburg University, and the Hoffman Trust National Collection in association with the San Diego Art Institute. Notable recent creative activities include solo exhibitions at The International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, the Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center in Cincinnati, and Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia. Michael’s work was also recently on view at the Scope Art Fair during Miami Art Basel, and a two-person exhibition at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. In addition, several of Michael’s works were included in the books Dark Inspirations II by Victionary Press and Anatomy Rocks by Cernunnos Press.