Working on it.
East Nashville, TN.
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: "It's pretty, but is it Art?
Cornish College of the Arts BFA
Painting and Printmaking
Vermont College of Art MFA
School of the Art Institute of Chicago MA program
Visual and Critical Studies
Vermont Master's Encomium
Michelle’s concerns throughout her tenure at Vermont have centered on the psyche and its relation to creative production. She has made significant progress in her theoretical and historical knowledge, her practical research and writing skills, her art making, as well as her sense of self. Women who have brought their personal anguish into their artwork, such as Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, serve as models for Michelle’s own practice.
She found inspiration in Slavoj Zizek, particularly his observations on trauma... Michelle’s studies derive from her personal experience, yet she has critically investigated the broader social context in which our identities are shaped through research into mental health pharmaceuticals and public art movements. She is well versed in theory, including especially Julia Kristeva, Georges Bataille, and Michel Foucault.
In her discussion of her studio work, her practice seems to have gained ground conceptually, and she is taking charge of what she puts out in the world. Influenced by Tracey Emin and Chris Burdin, Michelle created for her graduate show a mixed media installation using ‘bed’ as sanctuary and confessional, the divide between public and private. To some extent I feel that Michelle resists fully articulating her art process for fear of squelching it. Possibly she possesses a latent conviction that her art will only emanate from emotional distress. It appears that Michelle recognizes this fear and wishes to overcome it. Having gone through the painful trauma of the death of a close friend during this her final semester, she has been able to channel that turmoil into her work and, most importantly, to reflect upon it. Therapeutic needs have always driven her work, and she is developing a way of representing those private conflicts in a public context. I have faith that the stabilizing effects of self-understanding will in turn inspire Michelle’s life and work.
One of Michelle’s great qualities is her willingness to take risks–in her thinking, writing, and art practice. Again and again the word ‘risk’ comes up in her end of the semester evaluations. While she experiences daunting anxieties, this does not debilitate her courageous leaps into the unknown. Her progress seems to rely upon these leaps of faith, which are both a confrontation and embrace of her fears.