Michael Alderson

Michael Alderson

Profile | Statement | Biography


Michael Alderson • Profile

A calming sea of space surrounds a singular figure in Michael Alderson's oil pastels. His imagery narratives tell the story of the inner self, of its psychological isolation and its relationship to others. Striking compositions show solitary figures elongated and askew, their heads often looking up and out beyond the pictorial space. These pieces also reveal the intricacies of oil pastel. Alderson combines large surfaces of rich, smoky hues with touches of vibrant color until the image resonates with layers of thick intensity. By building up areas of pigment and working into the resulting impasto, he is able to create figures rich and textured.

Inspired by a quote by William Hazlitt, "whatever holds itself at a distance from us is also welcoming," Alderson creates an inviting sense of infinite space using a simple technique of warm colors verses cool colors. The figures made up of reds and yellows leap to the foreground from a field of cool blue. "I've always felt the deeper the space the more we want to get to the back of it," Alderson says.

Alderson's mastery of oil pastel as a medium of expression is obvious in the minimal landscapes he creates. The palette is rich and complex, vibrant yet calm, with the horizon endlessly pulling the viewer out to a sea of emotion. Says Alderson, " I have always loved the horizon like the oldest friend we have."

Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Michael Alderson received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1992. He currently lives and works in Maine.


Michael Alderson • Statement

"Whatever holds itself at a distance from us is also welcoming"

William Hazlitt wrote that and I don't remember where I read it, though I spent a little time trying to find a book by him, but never did. This idea has been a major inspiration for my painting.

Color
In color theory, cool temperatures recede and warm temperatures come forward. This creates the illusion of space on a two dimensional surface. I've always felt the deeper the space the more we want to get to the back of it. I have always loved the horizon like the oldest friend I have.

Also, when using temperature in colors to create space, I have thought that possibly uncomfortable images may become more interesting by merely placing them in space. Creating a push and pull within and around them, putting distance, a realistic, believable distance behind such an image would make a viewer wish to get to the back of it, passing what is first on the way.

Why nude? Why male or female?
I can try to defend my decisions after they are made in some attempt at intellectualizing the paintings, but the truth is that no attempt was made previous to the action of mark to paper.

If a painting is successful and unlabored in appearance, usually more graceful with emotions, then I will have no luck in recalling what was going on through my mind. At its best, I wake before a painting I haven't seen before or conceived of in my mind previous to painting. It sounds hokey--of course, not all my paintings are so fluid, but those that are not feel a bit stiff.

I claim that I don't know what any said piece is specifically about. I work and an image comes. It may be transformed many times. I don't deny influences: visual, emotional, etc. This is why I also choose not to title most of my work--it becomes too leading. I would rather have a viewer bring his/her own experiences to a painting.

 


Michael Alderson • Biography

EDUCATION

1992
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2016
"Everyone in the Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

"Collective Alchemy", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

2015   
"Let's Get Started", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

"Everyone in The Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

“Lookie Here”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

2014
“Annual Fall Celebration”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Unusual Suspects”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

2013   
“Go Figure”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2012   
“25 Year Gala”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Color Context”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

“Act II”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

2011    
“Come Out and Play”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Opening Celebration”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

2007
"2007-a" Grand Rapids, Michigan

2005
"April Fools: Paintings or Prints?", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2003
"Holiday Muse", LaFontsee Galleries, Group Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1999
"Façade", LaFontsee Galleries, Group Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1998
"GEN ART Summer Arts Festival", Exit Art Gallery, New York, New York

"Vivid", Robert Clements Gallery, Portland, Maine

"Metamorphosis", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1997
"Heads, Bodies and Souls", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1995
"Three Michaels", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1994
"Celebration", First United Methodist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1993
"The Landscape Show", Battle Creek Art Center, Battle Creek, Michigan

1992
"West Michigan Regional", Lowell Area Arts Council, Lowell, Michigan

"Festival '92: Visual Arts Competition", Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Kalamazoo Area Show", Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan