Michael Gute


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“Fallen” is the first piece in a series of fallen figures that I’ve been working on through 2020. These pieces started to form at the onset of our society’s historic civil unrest. The works evolved. They are rooted in the images of police brutality and police restraint which had flooded our webpages. These figures I painted began to remind me of something else; They looked like christ descending the cross. These fallen figures embody the sacrifices many have made to empower those who come after them —one of the most important callings our souls may answer.

30"H × 24"W × 0.7"D
oil 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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