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Michael Gute


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“Beach” can certainly be read in ways far beyond a day on the shores of Lake Michigan. The entangled figures are messy. There is a horizontal figure lying on their back with two onlookers breaking up the shoreline. The piece suggests a rescue, a drowning, or maybe a baptism. The hand and foot in the foreground have purpose and they are painted calmly and in focus. The hand rests in position of the benediction (or blessing) and the foot casts a shadow that might represent shelter of the Most High; this is God’s protective presence. Special attention to hands and feet can be interpreted with specifically Christian meaning and I find these themes unfold organically in my drawing. *This piece comes with a black gallery frame

30"H × 24"W × 0.7"D
Mixed Media
oil, spray paint, oil pastel on canvas.


My work is generally about two things, (a) making pictures that move back and forth between reality and the past, and (b) mark-making as evidence of the body. I approach painting with a theatrical and expressive perspective, drawing from sources in art history, theatre and photojournalism. Different scenes dissolve into one another. For example, an image of a café owner closing his dinning room will bleed into a grove of mossy oak trees. Repetition of the figure is used to evoke authority and hierarchy in much of my recent work. I’m also interested in the themes of observance and powerlessness. I use painting, drawing and scratching veiled over one another to build an accumulation of experience and memory. I’m aware of my intuition and appreciate how the body and mind work in a choreography to mark the surface. Paintings validate the artist’s body. They are products of our performance as well as reinforcements of hope and faith. Hope stays the artist through the working of a painting and faith tells them it’s finished.

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