Metaphorical Portraits by Michael Mapes Deconstruct art history as collaged specimens



Art

#arthistory #collage #michaelmapes #portraits #still life

August 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Blauw Girl” (2018), mounting foam, insect needles, photographs, sample containers, glass vials, fabric swatches, acrylic paint, beads, human hair, doll hair, gelatin capsules, canvas, cotton thread and rope , 34 x 28 x 3.5 inches. All images © Michael Mapes, shared with permission

Photographs, scraps of fabric, human hair, dried flowers and gelatin capsules are some of the materials artist Michael Mapes (previously) arranges into fragmented portraits and still lifes. Referring to traditions and prominent works in art history, Mapes interprets figures and fruits through deconstructed compositions. Housed in specimen boxes reminiscent of those used in entomological research, the collages use the metaphor of scientific research as a way of deconstructing and reconstructing the contexts and meanings of the original works.

Mapes begins each work with an exploration of subject and materials, and many of the artist’s most recent works focus on muses, such as the fashion designer Emilie Louise Flöge, who was Gustav Klimt’s lifelong companion. “I’ve been doing studies, works on a smaller scale that allow me to consider compositional approaches for larger works,” he says of the series. “It connects the past with the present in a very personal way. The muse vibe is inspired by the history of mining art to find themes that resonate with me and my work process.”

Mapes, who is based in the Hudson Valley, currently has several pieces available, which can be found on his site and Instagram.

Details for “Blauw Girl” (2018), mounting foam, insect needles, photographs, sample containers, glass vials, fabric swatches, acrylic paint, beads, human hair, doll hair, gelatin capsules, canvas, cotton thread and rope, 34 x 28 x 3.5 inches

“Dutch Agatha” (2019), photographs, fabric samples, painted photographs, botanical specimens, spices, tea, tobacco, coffee, cast resin, clay, thread, hair, insect needles, capsules, specimen bags and magnifying glass cases , 20 x 20 x 3.5 inches

“HdP 02” (2016), mounting foam, canvas, acrylic, photographs, plastic containers, resin, fabric, gel capsules and beads, 28 x 23 x 3 inches

Detail from “HdP 02” (2016), mounting foam, canvas, acrylic, photographs, plastic containers, resin, fabric, gel capsules and beads, 28 x 23 x 3 inches

Clelia (2021), Prints, Photo Prints, Jewelry, Fabric, Hair, Dried Flowers, Swatch Bags, Insect Needles, Gelatin Capsules, Thread, Miscellaneous Stamped Elements, 23 x 28 x 3.5 inches

Detail from Clelia (2021), Prints, Photo Prints, Jewelry, Fabric, Hair, Dried Flowers, Sample Bags, Insect Needles, Gelatin Capsules, Thread, Miscellaneous Stamps, 23 x 28 x 3.5 inches

“Still Life Specimens P4” (2021), Archival Prints, Insect Pins, Map Pins, Magnifier Boxes, Specimen Pouches, Dried Fruit & Seeds, 12 x 12 x 3.5 inches

Details of Still Life Specimens P4 (2021), Archival Prints, Insect Pins, Map Pins, Loupe Boxes, Specimen Pouches, Dried Fruit & Seeds, 12 x 12 x 3.5 inches

#arthistory #collage #michaelmapes #portraits #still life

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